St. Petersburg, Fla.-Chris Triplett homered and Andrew Fessler pitched five innings of shutout relief to lift Georgia State to a 7-6, series-clinching win over Boston College Sunday at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. The win was the 200th at Georgia State for head coach Greg Frady.
Georgia State, which also defeated the Eagles, 5-4, on Friday, won the three-game series to improve to 7-5 on the season. Boston College dropped to 2-7.
Triplett's two-run blast over the left field fence highlighted a four-run third inning as the Panthers turned a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead. GSU added two more runs in the fourth and then survived a four-run fifth inning by the Eagles.
Fessler, the junior left-hander who earned his first victory in his first appearance for the Panthers, relieved GSU starter Aidan McLaughlin with two on and no outs in the fifth and shut down Boston College, allowing just one hit and one walk in five innings.
"I'm really proud of our team that we hung in there, found a way to win and grinded out a tough day," said Frady. "When you are tired on Sunday, the will to win has to come through. Over last third of game, our will to win was really high, and that was led by Andrew Fessler, who gave us the pitching stop that we needed."
With the Panthers trailing 2-1, Greg Bowder singled to lead off the third inning. After a fielder's choice by Chad Prain, Triplett put the Panthers ahead with his team-leading third homer of the season.
"That really gave us some energy and momentum," said Frady. "It was just an awesome at-bat. While we knew Chris could hit for some power, I'm not sure we thought he would be leading us in home runs, but he certainly stepped up."
With two outs in the inning, Matt Rose started another rally with a single to left. Walks by Mark Hogan and Nic Wilson loaded the bases, and then Scott Sarratt delivered a two-run single through the right side, putting the Panthers ahead, 5-2.
GSU added two more runs in the fourth. After Triplett drew a one-out walk, Josh Merrigan doubled to left field, and the Rose smashed a double past the third baseman to score both runners and give the Panthers a 7-2 advantage.
The Eagles mounted a rally in the fifth. A leadoff walk to Brad Butera and back-to-back singles by Tom Bourdon and Chris Shaw loaded the bases, and then Logan Hoggarth doubled to right center to plate two runs. With runners at second and third and still no outs, Fessler relieved McLaughlin and induced a grounder to third for the first out. Pinch hitter Tom Ferrick managed a fly ball to center that scored Shaw, and then the Eagles pulled within 7-6 on a dropped fly ball in right field before Fessler got Jimmy Cronin to fly out to end the inning.
Fessler allowed a walk and a single to lead off the sixth, but after a double play on a fly ball by Bourdon, he retired the final 11 batters in a row.
"We always knew that he could really pitch, but we needed him to work through his injuries, and he did that," said Frady. "He did a great job. He was a really great matchup against Boston College, just like Ben Burns was on Friday."
Triplett, Rose and Sarratt drove in two runs each for the Panthers, and Prain collected three hits on the day. Caden Bailey doubled in with two outs in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
In his seventh season at the helm of the GSU program, Frady has 200 victories with the Panthers, second only to Mike Hurst. The team presented him with a signed game ball after the victory.
"Any time any individual has a milestone, you have to look back at all the people who did all the work to help you get there," said Frady. "I don't even have the words. All 200 are equally special, but it feels great."
Georgia State returns home for its next five games, beginning with a two-game series with UNC Asheville, Tuesday and Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the GSU Baseball Complex.