GEORGIA STATE (5-12, 0-0) at APPALACHIAN STATE (6-9, 0-0)

 

THE SERIES (at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium, Boone, N.C.)

Friday, 4 p.m.

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

 

COVERAGE:  Live video on APPVision (free) at appstatesports.com.

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Friday:       GSU Jr. RHP Hunter Gaddis (0-1, 5.88) vs. APP RHP Will Sprinkle (1-2, 4.07)

Saturday:   GSU Sr. RHP Jake Rogers (1-2, 5.89)  vs. APP LHP Tyler Tuthill (3-1, 2.96)

Sunday:     GSU So. RHP Trey Horton (0-1, 2.91) vs. APP RHP Cameron Kepley (0-3, 6.89)

 

LEADING OFF

>Georgia State opens Sun Belt Conference play at Appalachian State.

>GSU leads the series with Appalachian State 11-6, including a 7-4 advantage as Sun Belt members beginning in 2015. The Panthers are 3-2 in Boone since re-joining the Sun Belt.

>The Panthers won last year’s series in Atlanta, 2-1, but the three games were decided by a total of four runs. GSU won the Friday game 4-2, behind a strong start from Hunter Gaddis, and then clinched the series Sunday on Ryan Glass’ walk-off single for a 3-2 victory. App State won 4-3 in 10 innings on Saturday.

>If the series remains on schedule, Georgia State will play on Sunday for the first time this season. The Panthers have played four straight Saturday doubleheaders due to weather issues.

>Senior right fielder Brandon Bell is one of Georgia State’s leading hitters at .328. The Preseason All-Sun Belt selection made his first appearance of the season on the mound in Tuesday’s win over Georgia Southwestern and earned a save with two scoreless innings.

>Senior first baseman Jake Corso leads the team in average (.343), RBI (15) and extra-base hits (9), including six doubles, one triple and two home runs.

>Junior designated hitter Elian Merejo is the team’s top newcomer, hitting .288 with a team-leading three homers and 14 RBI.

>Merejo has two game-winning hits this season, mostly recently a two-out, two-run walk-off single in the 13th inning to give the Panthers a 6-5 victory over ETSU last Friday. At Charleston Southern, trailing by one in the top of the ninth, his two-run single lifted GSU to a 7-6 victory and series win.

>Preseason All-America and Preseason Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year Hunter Gaddis takes the mound for the Panthers on Friday nights. The junior right-hander, ranks seventh in GSU history with 189 career strikeouts and tied for 10th with 13 career victories. 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.

>Gaddis is one of three Panthers named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt team. Senior Brandon Bell, GSU’s top returning hitter and starting right fielder who also plays third base and pitches, was named as a utility player. Sophomore Ryan Glass was selected as the DH after earning second-team all-conference honors there in 2018, when he belted seven homers.

>Freshman right-hander Ryan Watson has two victories and a save in his five appearances, including a victory vs. Georgia Southwestern in his first start. He earned a save and a victory in his first two outings. Against UIC, he pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts for the save, then at Charleston Southern, he finished  the game with two scoreless inning to earn the win. 

>The freshman trio of Watson, RHP Joseph Brandon and LHP Seth Clark have become mainstays of the GSU bullpen, combining for four wins and a save in 16 appearances with a 4.79 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 35.2 innings.

>Now in his 13th season as the Georgia State head coach, Greg Frady is the Panthers’ career victory leader with 360 in Atlanta as part of his 547 career wins in his 19th season.