What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State tied ULM with three runs in the eighth and then won 4-3 in the 11th on Justin Jones' walk-off double.
* Jones also had an RBI-double in the three-run eighth.
* Rhett Harper earned the win with three scoreless innings in relief.
ATLANTA -- After Georgia State tied the game with three runs in the eighth inning, Justin Jones' walk-off double in the 11th lifted the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over ULM Saturday at the GSU Baseball Complex, evening the Sun Belt Conference series at one game apiece.
In a 3-3 game, Luke Leonard led off the 11th win a single. After Will Kilgore sacrificed him to second and Ryan Blanton was intentionally walked, Jones smacked the 1-2 pitch from ULM closer Anthony Herrera to the left field corner to bring home the winning run.
"Any time they intentionally walk someone to get to you, it's not really disrespectful, but it gets your game up a little bit," Jones said. "He threw a lot of sliders and he has a good slider, so that's what I was looking for. The first time (in the ninth inning), he actually struck me out throwing six sliders and one fastball. I went back up there expecting the same thing, and luckily I was able to get a good swing on that last one."
Jones, the Panthers' outstanding shortstop, also had an RBI-double in Georgia State's tying rally in the eighth. With the Panthers (15-26, 5-15 Sun Belt) trailing 3-0, Blanton led off the eighth with an infield single, and Jones doubled to the right field corner to score GSU's first run. Jones moved to third on a wild pitch and then came home as Nick Gatewood singled to first base.
With one out, a fielding error by the second baseman and then a walk to Mike Huggins loaded the bases and brought on Herrera (1-3), the ULM closer who is also the starting shortstop, for the second straight night. GSU catcher Payton Mann hit a ground ball to first baseman Turner Francis, who tried to cut down the runner at home but his throw pulled the catcher off the plate and the tying run scored.
Rhett Harper (1-0) earned the victory for Georgia State with three scoreless innings in his first action in a month due to injury. After the Panthers tied the game, Harper came on to start the ninth. He allowed a two-out single to Cody Stone, but Mann threw out Stone when he tried to advance to second on a ball in the dirt. Harper retired the Warhawks in order in the 10th, and after allowing two two-out baserunners in the 11th, he struck out Brian Barefoot for the third out. He finished with four strikeouts.
Georgia State freshman Hunter Gaddis turned in another solid start but did not figure in the decision. He pitched five innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Another freshman, lefty Tyler Koch, kept the Panthers in the game with three scoreless innings in which he gave up just one hit before Harper came on.
Jones also had a game-winning hit in extra innings in the Panthers' 11-inning victory at Ole Miss with a run-scoring double in the top of the 11th inning. Georgia State improved to 4-0 in extra innings this season.
"We didn't really have many moments offensively, but when we got a really good shot, we cashed in," head coach Greg Frady said. "I want to compliment Hunter Gaddis for again giving us a great outing, Tyler Koch for what he did to stabilize the game in the middle, and then Rhett Harper pitching three innings. Rhett is our leader, and to have him back out there was a sense of confidence for the team."
ULM (12-31, 6-14 Sun Belt) starter Chase Beal was outstanding until running into trouble in the eighth. He pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.