ATLANTA - Mark Hogan homered and drove in a career-high five runs as Georgia State downed UNC Asheville, 12-3, Tuesday at the GSU Baseball Complex.
The Panthers (8-5) outlasted two rain delays to win for fourth time in the last five games. UNC Asheville fell to 4-8.
"Every game brings a new challenge," said GSU head coach Greg Frady. "We were coming off a road trip and some big wins, so that was a challenge. The weather was windy and rainy, and we had to pull the tarp and then take it off - a lot of things that could have made us lose focus. At the end of the day, we hit well, we pitched well, we played good defense and we won the game."
Hogan, the senior outfielder from Matthew, N.C., hit a two-run single in the third to put Georgia State ahead and then belted a three-run homer over the left field fence in a seven-run sixth inning that was interrupted by a 45-minute rain delay. The opposite field homer was his first of the season.
"Mark had a rough game on Sunday, but if you stay in the game long enough, you will experience that from time to time," said Frady. "I had no doubt he would bounce back, and he did. I think he felt really good when that ball went over the fence, and all of a sudden, Sunday was 100 years ago."
Ben Burns (3-1) turned in another strong relief outing to earn his team-leading third victory of the season. The junior left-hander came on in the fourth inning and tossed 3-2/3 innings, allowing just one run on two hits.
"Ben is really a hot pitcher for us right now, and we couldn't be happier about the way he is throwing," said Frady. "It's so exciting to watch him because he throws the ball in the strike zone, he mixes it up, and he gives us a chance every time out. I'm very proud of him."
Trailing 2-0 early, the Panthers tied the game in the bottom of the second on an error and a bases-loaded walk to Josh Merrigan.
One inning later, Chase Raffield and Greg Bowder led off the inning with back-to-back singles and moved up to second and third on a wild pitch. With bases loaded and one out, Hogan delivered a single that bounced over the first baseman's head and into right field to score two runs. Later in the inning, Joey Roach stole home to put the Panthers ahead, 5-2.
With GSU leading 5-3, Chad Prain led off the sixth inning with a double and came home on another double by Josh Merrigan. With one out, Raffield and Greg Bowder pounded two more doubles to increase the Panthers' lead to 8-3. Joey Roach came to the plate, but the rains came for the second time, forcing a 45-minute delay. When play resumed, Roach belted the first pitch to right center for the fifth double of the inning to score Bowder.
After Garitt Church walked, Hogan hit his three-run homer to give GSU a 12-3 advantage.
Freshman Nathan Bates made his first start for the Panthers and went 3-1/3 innings, allowing six hits and two unearned runs with two walks and two strikeouts.
After Burns' stint, Michael Lelko, Caleb Gore and Matt Rose finished the game with two innings of scoreless relief.
UNC Asheville reliever Ethan Steible (0-2), who came on in the third inning, took the loss. Justin Woods had two hits and two RBI for the Bulldogs, and Hunter Bryant, Kyle Towles and Robert McIntosh had two hits apiece.
The teams conclude their two-game series Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the GSU Baseball Complex.