Panthers rally for 10-7 victory over Georgia

10:21 PM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Chris Triplett's two-run home run in the fifth inning put Georgia State ahead and sent the Panthers to a 10-7 victory over Georgia Tuesday at the GSU Baseball Complex for GSU's first win over the Bulldogs since 2001.

Georgia State (5-4) rallied from deficits of 3-0, 4-1 and 7-4 to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Bulldogs (2-6), who were playing on GSU's home field for the first time since 2009.

After Triplett's blast put the Panthers ahead, 8-7, senior Greg Bowder delivered a two-run, pinch-hit single for key insurance runs, and relievers Jerry Stuckey and Matt Rose shut down the Bulldogs over the final five innings.

After rallying from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game at 4-4, Georgia State entered the bottom of the fifth inning down, 7-4. Josh Merrigan led off with a single and moved to third on a one-out single by Mark Hogan. Scott Sarratt drove home Merrigan with a single, and the Hogan scored on a wild pitch, pulling the Panthers within one run.

Triplett came to the plate with two outs and Sarratt at second and belted his second homer of the season to left center, giving the Panthers their first lead at 8-7.

"Of course the home run was the key blast that gave us the lead, but Chris had a terrific game," said GSU head coach Greg Frady. "He hit another ball all the way to the wall in right center, and he was patient at the plate and drew two walks. I'm really happy to see him swinging the bat so well."

One inning later with the Panthers still leading 8-7, Chad Prain led off the seventh with a bunt single. After he was forced at second on a ground ball by Josh Merrigan, Nic Wilson drew a walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Hogan struck out, but the runners moved up on a wild pitch. Sarratt was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Bowder came on as a pinch hitter. The senior poked a single through the left side to plate Merrigan and Wilson and put GSU ahead, 10-7.

"Greg had two hits in Sunday's game, and I felt like as a veteran player, he would give us a good at-bat in that situation, and he certainly did," said Frady. "That was a huge hit to give us two insurance runs that were really big."

Stuckey, the sophomore right-hander from Perry, Ga., relieved GSU starter Ben Burns with one out in the fourth inning. He pitched 2-2/3 innings and allowed three hits, including a solo homer to Zack Bowers, to earn his first victory of the season.
Rose, a freshman righty from Melbourne, Fla., shut out the Bulldogs over the final three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two, to earn his first save.

"Jerry came in and did a good job of getting the game stabilized," said Frady. "That was really important to give our offense a chance to get us back in the game. And how about Matt Rose putting up three straight zeros? He did a tremendous job. I think we've found our closer."

After falling behind 4-1, Georgia State tied the game with three runs in the bottom second. Sarratt led off the inning with a double off the left field wall, just missing a home run by inches, and Chase Raffield doubled over the center fielder's head to put runners at second and third. Sarratt came home when ball four to Triplett was wild, and Drew Shields and Caden Bailey delivered back-to-back sacrifice flies to tie the game at 4-4 after two innings.

GSU second baseman Caden Bailey led off the game with a single to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, and Prain, Hogan, Sarratt, and Raffield had two hits each for the Panthers.

Georgia State travels to St. Petersburg, Fla., this weekend for a three-game series against Boston College at Al Lang Field.

Georgia State University

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