GEORGIA STATE (14-35, 5-19) at LOUISIANA (22-28, 10-14)

Russo Park, Lafayette, La.

 

Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Saturday, 5 p.m. ET

Sunday, 12 p.m. ET

 

COVERAGE: Live stats on GeorgiaStateSports.com, GSU mobile app

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Friday:       GSU Jr. RHP Hunter Gaddis (1-6, 5.45) vs. LA RHP Jack Burk (2-2, 3.18)

Saturday:   GSU Jr. LHP Tyler Koch (0-3, 7.04) vs. LA RHP Brandon Young (2-5, 5.06)

Sunday:     Both teams TBA

 

LEADING OFF

Georgia State plays its final road series at Louisiana, beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET

Louisiana leads the series 10-2, including a 6-0 advantage at Lafayette. Last season in Atlanta, the three games were decided by a total of five runs, including two extra-inning games. Georgia State took Game 1 6-5 (12), and then the Ragin’ Cajuns won 6-4 (11) and 9-7.

Georgia State’s last appearance at Louisiana’s Russo Park was in last year’s Sun Belt Tournament, when Hunter Gaddis struck out 12 and took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Little Rock, but the Panthers fell 2-1 in the ninth.

Freshman RHP Ryan Watson earned his team-leading sixth victory at Texas State (May 4) as he finished the 3-1 win with 2.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief. Watson is tied for second in the Sun Belt in wins, and his six victories are the most ever by a Georgia State freshman.

Senior outfielder Rhett Harper was named to the 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-District® baseball team by CoSIDA for the second time. He graduated this week with a 4.16 GPA in finance, the highest GPA for any baseball student-athlete selected to Academic All-District®. He is now eligible for the Google Cloud Academic All-America® baseball team, which will be announced next month.

Harper homered and drove in two runs in last week’s win over Texas State. In the eighth inning, Harper hit a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1, and then in the ninth, his RBI-single provided a key insurance run, and GSU held on for the 3-1 victory to snap Texas State’s nine-game Sun Belt winning streak.

Harper’s homer was just the second of his career and his first since Feb. 14, 2015, a span of 1,540 days. Since then, the fifth-year senior moved to the mound and became the team’s closer in 2017, missed 2018 due to elbow surgery and then returned to the outfield midway through this season. He added another homer four days later vs. Presbyterian. Despite not batting for three years, he is hitting .318 with 13 RBI in 21 games.

First baseman and top hitter Jake Corso returned to the lineup at Texas State and went 5-for-10, including an RBI-double, after missing six weeks due to a hand injury.  He led the team in average, RBI and extra-base hits when he was injured March 19.

In their 15-11 come-from-behind victory over Coastal Carolina on April 28, Georgia State trailed 10-5 after five innings, then outscored the Chanticleers 10-1. GSU tied the game on Elian Merejo’s RBI single and then taking the lead on Luke Leonard’s two-run double in the bottom of the eighth. Trey Horton earned his first career victory with four innings of relief, allowing just one run.

DH Elian Merejo had two three-run home runs and the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning in GSU’s 15-11 win over Coastal Carolina. Merejo’s seven RBI are one shy of the school record and the most by a Panther since Joey Roach had seven vs. Mercer in 2015.

Senior right fielder Brandon Bell is a dual threat, leading the team with a .321 batting average and four saves. The Preseason All-Sun Belt selection did not allow an earned run in his first seven appearances and recorded saves vs. Georgia Southwestern, Kennesaw State, Furman and Mercer.

Hunter Gaddis was named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week (March 18) after a combined shutout over Appalachian State. He pitched eight scoreless innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts while allowing just four hits, all singles, in the 2-0 win. The 6-6 right-hander earned the third Sun Belt weekly honor of his career.

Gaddis, the Preseason All-America and Preseason Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, ranks third in GSU history with 256 career strikeouts,10th with 14 career victories, sixth in games started (38) and eighth in innings pitched (250.0). That includes a 9-4 record and a 2.95 ERA in 2018, when he tied for the Sun Belt lead in victories while ranking second in the league in innings pitched (100.2), third in strikeouts (98) and fourth in ERA.

This season, Gaddis is second in the Sun Belt with 91 strikeouts. After fanning 98 last season, he has two of the top five single-season totals in GSU history. The school record is 115 by David Giancarlo in 1996.

Now in his 13th season as the Georgia State head coach, Greg Frady is the Panthers’ career victory leader with 369 in Atlanta as part of his 556 career wins in his 19th season.