ATLANTA -- Georgia State overcame an early five-run deficit to defeat Illinois-Chicago 9-5 and earn their first win of the season behind three hits and two runs batted in by Jake Corso and shutout relief by freshmen Seth Clark and Ryan Watson.
The Panthers (1-2) fell to West Virginia 8-2 in the first game of Saturday's day-night doubleheader in the Atlanta Challenge at the GSU Baseball Complex.
WEST VIRGINIA 8, GEORGIA STATE 2
Georgia State starting pitcher Jake Rogers took a no-hitter into the sixth inning but the Panthers fell 8-2 to West Virginia in Game 2 of the Atlanta Challenge.
Rogers (0-1), the senior right-hander, hit a batter and then walked three to start the game to allow West Virginia to score two runs in the first inning, but he did not surrender a hit until a leadoff single in the sixth inning.
But the Mountaineers (1-1) scored four runs in sixth to turn a 2-1 lead into a 6-1 advantage and seize control of the game.
Brandon Bell his first homer of the season with a solo shot in the fifth inning, and Jake Corso added an RBI-double in the ninth.
GEORGIA STATE 9, UIC 5
Georgia State overcame an early five-run deficit to defeat Illinois-Chicago 9-5 and earn their first win of the season behind three hits and two runs batted in by Jake Corso and shutout relief by freshmen Seth Clark and Ryan Watson.
After allowing five runs in the first inning, four of them unearned, GSU chipped away with single run in the first, second and fourth innings. Corso tied the game in the sixth inning with a two-out, two-run single, and then the Panthers moved ahead for good with three runs in the seventh.
"Jake Corso had a big day today," head coach Greg Frady said. "A big emphasis for us has been two-out RBIs, and we did that today. None bigger than Jake's at-bat - lefty-on-lefty matchup and he hit the ball through the left side."
Elian Merejo and Ryan Glass led off the seventh with back-to-back singles and Luke Leonard walked to load the bases. After the go-ahead run scored on a double-play ground ball, freshman Josh Smith delivered a run-scoring single for his second RBI of the game. Griffin Cheney scored on a wild pitch to give the Panthers an 8-5 lead. Glass added an RBI on a fielder's choice in the eighth for a four-run advantage.
Georgia State starter Trey Horton, the sophomore making his first career start, recovered from his rough first inning to keep the Panthers in the game as he retired the Flames (0-3) in order in the second, third and fourth innings. In the fifth inning, he allowed runners at second and third with no outs before striking out the next two batters. Then Clark, the rookie left-hander, came on and recorded a strikeout looking to keep UIC off the scoreboard.
Clark retired seven straight batters with 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh to earn the victory in his collegiate debut. Watson, another freshman, mowed down the Flames in order in the eighth and ninth for the save. Clark and Watson combined for 4.1 innings of perfect relief with three strikeouts each.
"Trey did not start well at all, but the fact that he pitched us into the fifth inning, putting up zeroes, gave us a chance," Frady said. "I think the fifth inning was the deciding moment of the game. Trey had second and third and was able to strike out the next two. The strikeout Seth Clark had, coming in from the bullpen, was amazing. It energized the team, and then he was able to give us two more innings - a fantastic job. And then Ryan Watson just filled up the strike zone.
"From the second inning on, all three of those really pitched outstanding. To see them do that is exciting and gives me great hope for what we're going this season.
The Panthers return to action Tuesday when host Georgia Southwestern at 4 p.m. at the GSU Baseball Complex.