PLEASE NOTE: Sunday's game has been moved to an 11 a.m. start.
ATLANTA -- Winners of 11 of their last 14 games, Georgia State hits the road for the third straight weekend for a Colonial Athletic Association series at Northeastern, with games scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. at Friedman Diamond.
A live video stream is available for all three contests. Click here to access.
Despite playing eight of their last nine games on the road, Georgia State stands at 27-16 overall, 6-9 in the CAA. The Panthers will be playing their fourth consecutive conference series on the road. Northeastern is 22-15, 7-8 in the CAA.
Entering the week, Georgia State LED THE NATION in hits (496) and ranked among the nation’s top five in batting average (.327, 2nd), runs (348, 2nd), doubles (108, 2nd) and runs per game (8.1, 5th). The Panthers are seventh nationally in on-base percentage (.415) and 11th in slugging (.463).
Individually, GSU shortstop Chad Prain was named this week to the first Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award Watch List. In the latest NCAA statistics, he is fifth in the nation in hits and 10th in batting average. He ranks fourth in the CAA and among the national leaders with 41 RBI. The GSU shortstop also helps the Panthers rank 11th in the nation in double plays.
Junior outfielder-designated hitter Chase Raffield is the Panthers’ hottest hitter after belting two home runs over the weekend to raise his team-leading total to nine. After going 9-for-16 with eight RBI in the last four games, Raffield is now batting .362 with 42 RBI. He ranks third in the CAA in homers and third in RBI.
Sophomore infielder Caden Bailey is also enjoying a very productive season with a .371 batting average and 24 RBI.
Freshman center fielder Josh Merrigan, named Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week this week for the third time this season, leads all CAA freshmen in batting average (.344), hits (62), runs scored (39), RBI (27), total bases (81) and stolen bases (11). Merrigan’s honor gives GSU a total of six Rookie of the Week awards in 10 weeks this season.
Georgia State’s weekend rotation includes a pair of freshmen on Friday and Saturday in right-hander Nathan Bates (2-1, 3.25) and lefty Garrett Ford (3-3, 5.66). Junior left-hander Andrew Fessler (3-1, 2.76) is the Sunday starter.
PRAIN NAMED TO BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WATCH LIST: Junior shortstop Chad Prain, enjoying one of the top offensive seasons in the nation, was named this week to the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award watch list. The Valdosta, Ga., native is batting .414, entering the week among the top 10 in the NCAA in batting average and hits (70). He also ranks among the national leaders with 41 RBI, despite generally batting in the leadoff or number two spot. He has two homers, 13 doubles and one triple, along with 13 stolen bases.
Prain had a hitting streak of 20 games, two shy of the school record, and he also had a streak of reaching base in 37 straight games. He has 22 multi-hit games.
Prain’s value to the Panthers was in full evidence as he figured prominently in a pair of extra-inning victories at New Orleans (April 12-13). On Friday, he hit a solo home run, his second of the season, in the top of the 12th inning to give GSU the 4-3 victory. On Saturday, the Panthers trailed 5-4 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and were down to their last strike when Prain was hit by an 0-2 pitch with bases loaded to bring home the tying run. In the top of the 11th, he was at the plate when the go-ahead run came home on a wild pitch in the 6-5 victory.
HOMECOMING FOR HOGAN: Georgia State’s series at Northeastern is a homecoming for senior outfielder Mark Hogan, who attended nearby Lincoln-Sudbury High in Sudbury, Mass. He helped lead the team to state titles in 2005 and 2007.
The two-sport standout enrolled at GSU in 2009 as the first scholarship player for the Panthers’ startup football program. He played three seasons of football (2010-11-12) and joined the baseball team for the first time in 2012.
This is Hogan’s third trip to New England this season but his first to Massachusetts. Last fall, Hogan played for the GSU football team in games at Rhode Island and at Maine.
THISCLOSE: In a seven-game stretch from April 12-20, Georgia State played six one-run games and four extra-inning contests, playing 72 innings in nine days. The Panthers won four one-run games and three extra-inning affairs in that span.
In two of the three extra-inning wins, the Panthers were down to their last out. At New Orleans (Apr. 13), GSU trailed 5-4 in the top of the ninth and had the bases loaded with two outs when Chad Prain fell behind 0-2 but fouled off several pitches before he was hit by a pitch to bring home the tying run. At Kennesaw State (Apr. 16), Prain scored the tying run on an error with two outs in the top of the ninth.
PANTHERS WIN 11 OF LAST 14: Georgia State has won 11 of its last 14 games. Included in this stretch is an eight-game winning streak from April 5-13 that equalled the second-longest winning streak in school history. The GSU record is 11 in a row by the 2011 squad. The Panthers also won eight in a row in 2000, 2008 and 2009.
PANTHERS ON THE OFFENSIVE: Georgia State features one of the nation’s most productive offenses. GSU leads the nation in hits (510) while ranking in the top five nationally in batting average, (.327, 2nd), runs (348, 2nd), doubles (108, 2nd) and runs per game (8.1, 5th).
Nine Panther regulars are hitting .300 or higher, including junior shortstop Chad Prain, with an eye-catching .414 batting average that is 10th in the nation.
In 2010, Georgia State led the nation in runs scored with 10.5 per game and ranked third with a .355 batting average.
THE SERIES WITH NORTHEASTERN: Georgia State holds a 14-8 lead in the series with Northeastern. The Panthers have won three of the last four meeting and eight of the last 11. GSU has won its season series against the Huskies in six of its seven seasons in the CAA.
Last season in Atlanta, Georgia State won one-run games on Friday (13-12) and Saturday (9-8) before falling Sunday (13-4).
Last year’s series opener will be remembered as one of the epic games in GSU history as the Panthers scored 11 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning --10 with two outs -- to turn a 12-2 deficit into a 13-12 victory. The Panthers entered the final frame down 12-2 but sent 14 batters to the plate and scored an improbable 11 runs on nine hits. Alex Prescott tied the game with a two-run double and then scored the winning run.
On their last trip to Northeastern in 2011, the Panthers also won two out three games, splitting a doubleheader on Saturday, 7-3 and 2-3, and then winning, 5-0, on Sunday.
ROSE TAKES ON DUAL ROLE: After playing primarily as an infielder for the first half of the season, freshman Matt Rose now has begun to see more time on the mound, closing games for the Panthers.
The 6-3 right-hander (0-1) has five saves and a 1.32 ERA in 12 appearances. In his last seven appearances (all since April 7), Rose has four saves, a 0.00 ERA, and eight strikeouts in 8-1/3 innings.
Rose also plays first base or third base and is batting .277 with two homers and 21 RBI.
MERRIGAN IS THREE-TIME CAA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Georgia State freshman Josh Merrigan is this week’s Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week, his third award of the season. The center fielder from Marietta, Ga., and Walton High School batted .333 with two RBI and three runs scored in four games last week.
Merrigan earned his first CAA Rookie honor of Feb. 18 after began his GSU career by hitting .636 (7-for-11) in the opening series against Butler. He drove in six runs and scored six more and also walked twice and went two-for-two on stolen bases. The left-handed hitter accomplished this while facing left-handed starting pitchers for the Bulldogs each game.
Merrigan batted .364 with one home run and three RBI in a three-game sweep of Old Dominion to garner accolades for the second time on Mar. 18.
He is the only three-time honoree this season.
THE THRILL OF THE CHASE: Junior Chase Raffield is putting up productive power numbers for the Panthers. The left-handed hitting outfielder-DH leads the team with nine home runs, 15 doubles, 2 RBI and a .667 slugging percentage.
After going 9-for-16 with eight RBI in the last four games, Raffield is now batting .362. He ranks third in the CAA in homers and RBI.
MERRIGAN SETS GSU FRESHMAN RECORD: Enjoying an outstanding rookie season, freshman center fielder Josh Merrigan is beginning to make his mark in the Georgia State record book. Now with 62 hits on the season, he has surpassed the previous high for a GSU freshman, 57 hits by current volunteer assistant Bradley Logan in 2007 and former outfielder Jay Langston in 1997.
Merrigan is also approaching the GSU freshman mark for runs scored (44 by Jay Langston in 1997).
For the season, Merrigan is batting .344 with 27 RBI and 39 runs scored. He is 11-for-11 on stolen bases.
He leads all conference freshmen in batting average, hits, runs, RBI, total bases and stolen bases while ranking third overall in hits and fifth overall in runs scored.