Williamsburg, Va. – Freshman Matt Rose homered and earned the victory on the mound as Georgia State downed William and Mary, 12-4, in the first game of a doubleheader Friday afternoon at Plumeri Park. The Panthers dropped game two, 14-0.
With Georgia State unable to compete in the CAA Tournament, the season ends with a 35-21 record, including a 14-13 mark in the CAA. GSU compiled the third-most victories in school history and equaled the second-best regular-season win total.
“Thirty-five wins is respected throughout college baseball,” said GSU head coach Greg Frady, who has guided the Panthers to five winning seasons in his seven years. “We overcame an incredible amount of adversity this season. We were short-handed, we couldn’t participate in postseason play in the CAA, we had five CAA road trips against the five toughest teams, we started a lot of freshmen, and we had two veteran guys go down with injuries. But all the way, the players that we had gave great effort and we found a way to win.
“Even though we came up short of our team goal of winning 40 games and making an NCAA Regional, this team has a lot to be proud of,” he continued. “To win 35 games, the second-most regular-season wins in school history, under the terms that we did, I have nothing but the greatest admiration for what this team has accomplished."
William and Mary improved to 35-20 and finishes second in the CAA with a 17-10 record.
Rose, the right-hander from Melbourne, Fla., won his second straight start, pitching 5-2/3 innings and allowing four runs on eight hits while tying his career high with five strikeouts.
He also drove in two runs with a solo home run, his fourth of the season, and an RBI-single.
Another Panther freshman, catcher Joey Roach, had three RBI with a triple and a sacrifice fly.
Leading 5-1, the Panthers broke the game open with a five-run sixth inning. With runners at first and second and one out, Caden Bailey started the scoring with a single through the right side, driving in Chase Raffield. The Nic Wilson delivered a run-scoring single. Another run came home on Mark Hogan’s fielder’s choice, and then Roach belted his two-run triple to right center field, giving the Panthers ahead, 10-1.
That was more than enough for Rose, who improved to 3-2 on the season. Junior Ben Burns came on in relief in the sixth inning and allowed just one hit over the final 3-1/3 innings for his second save.
“Matt Rose pitched unbelievably well, and he hit a home run. He had a great effort today to help us get that 35th win, even though he has been sick,” said Frady. “Our seniors guided this team and showed a lot of leadership, and our freshmen did a phenomenal job all season.”
The Panthers gave up a run in the first inning on a wild pitch before jumping in front with three runs in the second against William and Mary starter Brett Koehler (6-4). Caden Bailey was hit by a pitch and then scored on Wilson’s double. Drew Shields smacked a triple to the warning track in left center, bringing home Wilson, and then Roach added a sacrifice fly to give GSU the 3-1 lead.
Chase Raffield smashed his team-leading 10th home run in the third inning with a solo blast to right center.
Josh Merrigan drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, but the Panthers’ freshman center fielder was hitless on the day, snapping his 16-game hitting streak.
In game two, William and Mary left-hander Jason Inghram (8-5) shut down the Panthers, allowing just one hit while striking out 10 over seven innings. Shields managed Georgia State’s only hit with a single in the third inning.
“They left it all out there, even at the end. In that second game, we just had nothing left, especially with the condensed series and the doubleheader today,” said Frady. “But Georgia State baseball won’t ever back down from a tough situation.”
GSU shortstop Chad Prain ended the season with 89 hits, just two shy of the school record of 91.