Story by Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Athletic Communications & Media
Pictures courtesy of Paul Penders Photography, Click HERE to order
CLERMONT, Fla. – (Box Score) (Bracket) Top seed Georgia Gwinnett scored six runs in the first two innings and went on to a 7-0 shutout of No. 9 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) in the final winner’s bracket game Saturday of the 2018 NAIA Softball World Series at Legends Way Ball Fields. The 38th annual event is hosted by PFX Athletics for the second-straight year.
- Georgia Gwinnett stays in the winner’s bracket and is scheduled to face No. 4 Science & Arts (Okla.) Monday at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
- The loss puts Freed-Hardeman into the elimination bracket and a Noon contest Monday against No. 6 Southern Oregon.
Key Turning Point of the Game:
- The top of the first saw Georgia Gwinnett push across three runs on four hits. Their quick strike offense was plenty to back starting pitcher Taylor Hansis.
- The big blow was consecutive doubles by Sydney Willhite and Brianna Fickes. Willhite’s hit scored two in front of Fickes’ RBI.
- In all, eight batters appeared and the Grizzlies led 3-0 before Freed-Hardeman had a scoring chance.
- Georgia Gwinnett pitcher Taylor Hansis went the distance to move her season record to 25-3. She twirled all seven innings and finished with five strikeouts and three walks.
- The complete-game shutout was her 10th of the year, including her third seven-inning blanking.
- She allowed seven hits, including six singles.
- Tori Robinson and Sydney Willhite led the Grizzlies with two hits apiece.
- Freed-Hardeman’s Caitlyn Carter finished 4-for-4 to top all hitters.
- In its first World Series appearance, Georgia Gwinnett is playing in its fifth year of varsity softball eligible for NAIA postseason play.
- With the loss, Freed-Hardeman is now 1-1 in its first all-time trip to the World Series.
- The team scoring first through eight games now is 5-3.
- The home team is 3-5.
- The higher seeds now hold a 5-3 record thus far in the World Series.
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