ATLANTA—Playing in its first ever NCAA Tournament, the fourth-seeded Georgia State baseball team fell, 9-3, to top-seeded and 13th-ranked Georgia Tech, , before a near-capacity crowd of 3,502 Friday in the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Tech’s Russ Chandler Stadium.

 

The Panthers (39-21), who had their eight-game winning streak snapped, move into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament and now play Saturday at 3 p.m. against Elon, a 17-15 loser to Southern Miss. Tech (36-17-1) advances to Saturday’s 7 p.m. winner’s bracket game against the Golden Eagles.

 

Georgia State’s Bradley Logan homered in his fifth straight game to give the Panthers the early lead through four innings, but freshman Matt Skole’s fifth-inning grand slam was the key blow for the Yellow Jackets. State out-hit Tech, 11-9, but the Yellow Jackets had the big inning.

 

"I'm very proud of our team. They played extremely hard and gave a fantastic effort," said Georgia State head coach Greg Frady. "The game basically came down to a situation where we had the lefty-lefty matchup, but Skole hit the home run.

 

"Give a lot of credit to Georgia Tech. They're a very good team, and they did what they had to."

 

Trailing 3-1, Georgia Tech erupted for five runs in the fifth, four of them coming on the grand slam by Skole. The Jackets loaded the bases on infield bunt singles by Connor Winn and Jeff Rowland and an intentional walk to Luke Murton. One run came home on a walk to Tony Plagman. Georgia State starter Will Palmer struck out Jason Haniger for the second out before Skole’s blast over the right field wall put Tech ahead, 6-3.

 

The Jackets added a run in the sixth on Rowland’s RBI single, pushing their advantage to 7-3, and then picked up two more in the eighth on a two-out, two-run single by Luke Murton.

 

The Panthers had taken the early lead with three runs in the third, highlighted by Logan’s 10th homer of the season, a shot over the left field wall on a 1-0 pitch. The first baseman from Augusta, Ga., has now homered in five straight games after going deep in each game of the CAA Championships.

 

Matt Van Horn singled and moved to third on a Marc Mimeault single, then came home as Jeff Rowland’s throw from centerfield got away. Mimeault later scored on a double play to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.

 

Georgia Tech pushed across a run in the first inning without the benefit of a hit as leadoff man Jeff Rowland reached on error, stole second and third and then scored on Tony Plagman.

 

Palmer (5-6), the senior lefthander from Atlanta, took the loss, allowing six hits and six runs in five innings of work with six strikeouts and four walks.

 

Georgia Tech starter Deck McGuire, a first-team all-America, improved his record to 11-1. He allowed three runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings of work.

 

"The best thing I can say about this team is we’ve made every day its own special day,” Frady said. “Tomorrow we’ll come to the park with an opportunity to win our very first NCAA game. That in itself is a wonderful opportunity.”

 

GEORGIA STATE NOTES
· 1B Bradley Logan homered for the fifth straight game. Logan’s 27 career home runs ranks seventh on Georgia State’s all-time list.
· LF Michael McCree had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
· RF Matt Van Horn played in his 59th game of the season, tying the school single season record set by Paul Schlosser in 2000.
· Marc Mimeault’s fourth inning single gave him 76 hits for the season and tied him with Dustin Phillips for fifth place on the school’s all-time list. Bradley Logan set the school record with 85 hits in 2008.
· The Panthers entered tonight’s game 12th in the NCAA in walks, but only drew one base on balls (coming with two outs in the ninth inning).

 

GEORGIA STATE POSTGAME QUOTES
 
Head Coach Greg Frady
Opening Statement:

“First off, I want to say that I’m very proud of our team. I thought our team played very hard tonight. We gave a fantastic effort, the kids
never gave up. We did a really great job in some areas. The game basically came down to two situations where we had a lefty/lefty matchup with two outs and Skole hit the home run. And then the other was Luke Murton’s ending two-out RBI. I think the game was really well played, it was very close and I give Georgia Tech a lot of credit, they are very good. McGuire is a fantastic pitcher and I thought our kids competed very well against him and front line pitching.”
 
“I think we saw tonight why we made a run in our own tournament because our team never gives up – they played hard to the end.”
 
How frustrating was the 5th inning, when Georgia Tech seemed to play ‘small ball’?
“Well, of course it’s frustrating when you see your guy going well and then give up a couple of runs. But you have to give them credit, too. Good teams make adjustments when things aren’t going well and I thought they adjusted well and I think that we would do the same thing if we were in that situation.
 
“Will Palmer has been an absolute consistent stellar performer for us for three years. Will always seems to have an outing where he has one inning that troubles him. And, if the team can do something in that one inning, then that’s the only way he’s going to lose. And, tonight, they had a big inning. Our goal coming into the game was to not give up a big inning and if we could get the game to the back half of the game close, I thought we’d have a chance to win it.”
 
How does this experience of the NCAA Tournament differ from the regular season?
“As you guys know, this is our first NCAA Tournament – it’s our first time on this big stage. I thought our team handled themselves very well. We came out and were a little bit nervous – I think you saw our second baseman throw the ball away in the first inning, I think there were some nerves in that. But, Will is a mature pitcher and he handled things well and settled down. In general I think our kids were very ready to play, I think they handled themselves very well and this is only going to help us in the future as we go forward and hopefully we can put together another regional, and then another and keep going back to back and have more experience on this stage.”
 
On tomorrow’s game, which should feel like a home game to their players:
“Well, it’s always great to have fans, that is for sure. Elon is a very good team – a top 25 team – you guys saw today that they can hit and we’ll have a tough challenge tomorrow. But, we’ll come ready. This is a championship team. We’re very proud to represent the CAA as the champions. The best thing I can say about this team is that we’ve made every day its’ own very special day. Tonight we lost, but we’ll go to bed and we’ll eat something tonight and tomorrow will be its’ own special day. Tomorrow we’ll come to the park with the opportunity to win our very first NCAA game, that in itself is a wonderful opportunity and we have tremendous respect for all the teams that are here, especially Elon in the way that they can hit. It offers us a great challenge, but our kids will come ready to go tomorrow.
 
# 40, Will Palmer, Pitcher
 
How did that inning add to your frustration?
“Yeah, it was a little frustrating. I threw him a fastball and didn’t make my pitch – just one pitch that I missed. But, they did the job in
getting the runners on base.”
 
#44, Bradley Logan, 1B
 
How does Deck McGuire compare to other pitchers in the CAA that you typically see?
“Well, we faced him last year in a mid-week game, so some of us had seen him before. He’s a great pitcher and we face a lot of guys in the CAA that are very good. He’s not a first team all-American for nothing. I think we got him out of his comfort zone early and we put a lot of pressure on him and put them on their heels and we had a lot of emotion. Will pitched well for us all game, it was just one pitch that changed the whole momentum of the game.”
 
On the home run you hit, what were you looking for?
“It was basically a fastball inside and I just reacted to it. I had noticed that he was throwing guys away, away, away and I think he meant
to do that, he just missed his spot and I just reacted to it.”
 
What were the feelings in the dugout during the game?
“We are a very confident team and anytime we get down, especially with Will on the mound, we know that we are going to get a solid effort – six or seven innings. He’s always been a rock for us. We were hoping to keep it close and just win it in the back half, we’d have a good chance, but unfortunately they had a big inning and we weren’t able to get back.”