2012 Georgia State Baseball Year in Review
Record: 24-31 Overall, 14-16 CAA (7th Place)
(Home: 16-13; Road: 7-17; Neutral: 1-1)
Head coach Greg Frady: 193-152-1 (6 full seasons; .558)
All-CAA: Caden Bailey, Fr. SS (All-Rookie Team)
CAA Pitcher of the Week: Ben Marshall (Feb. 21 & April 16)
CAA Rookie of the Week: Kody Adams (Feb. 21) and Max Schmitz (March 12)
ATLANTA-Though the Georgia State baseball team did not reach the postseason in 2012 for the first time in four seasons, it was yet another year of tremendous finishes and record-setting performances for the squad. The season went into extra innings of the final game before GSU was eliminated from the sixth spot in the CAA Tournament, finishing one win behind two teams who made the tournament.
From the veteran leaders who capped their careers by climbing the school record books, to the many newcomers who instantly made their mark on the program, there were many achievements made all year long.
The Panthers took on the daunting task of replacing 15 seniors by bringing 19 newcomers into the fold, including 10 freshmen.
Expectations were still set high for GSU. The team received votes in the NCBWA Preseason Poll, saw pitcher Jake Dyer earn preseason All-American honors and placed infielders Brandon Williams and Drew Shields on the All-CAA preseason team.
The Panthers were picked to finish fourth in the league by fellow CAA head coaches, a nod to the consistency of a program that had reached five postseason tournaments in its six years in the league.
GSU began the year with a very stiff non-conference slate that featured three top-20 opponents and several league champions.
The Panthers started quickly once again, earning series victories over Western Illinois and defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Austin Peay in back-to-back weeks to open the season. A close 4-1 loss at #9 Georgia was one of the few early defeats on the year.
GSU returned from the Bright House Invitational in DeLand, Fla., at #20 Stetson with a 6-6 record, but would earn one of the biggest wins of the season in its next outing.
Playing at home against the #9 crosstown Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Panthers knocked off the eventual Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champions with a dramatic 5-4 victory, the team's fourth win over a ranked Tech squad in the last six seasons.
The Panthers' momentum was quickly stemmed, as GSU hit a season-high five game skid to enter CAA competition at 7-11 overall. The team would snap its losing streak, however, with one of the most dramatic finishes in school history: a headline-grabbing performance March 16 that made news around the country.
GSU trailed conference foe Northeastern for much of their Friday night opener, entering a seventh-inning lightning delay behind 8-2. The Huskies emerged from the pause to add four more runs to their advantage, taking a 12-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. It seemed to most all but over, but the Panthers strung together an improbable 11 runs (10 with two outs) on nine total hits, roaring back for a 13-12 victory. Two Panthers picked up their first career hits in the rally as freshman Alex Prescott scored the game-winning run on fellow freshman Kody Adams' base-hit, sending both the team and the home crowd into a frenzy and the Panthers to a 1-0 start in league play.
The close finishes would be a theme throughout the year, as half of GSU's 14 conference wins were by just a single run.
In total, the Panthers played 15 one-run games on the year and 25 of the 55 games were decided by two runs or less.
The Panthers would defend home field early in conference play, reaching a 4-1 league mark for the second straight year after clinching a series over defending champion and preseason favorite James Madison March 24.
The road was not as kind to the young Panthers, as trips to George Mason and Hofstra sent the team to a 5-7 league record by April 8.
GSU would capture its next two conference series over William & Mary and Towson with two wins against each, climbing back to .500 at 9-9. The highlight of that stretch came April 14, as senior pitcher Ben Marshall twirled a complete-game, one-hit shutout of the Tribe in a 1-0 Panther win that earned him CAA Pitcher of the Week honors.
Eventual league champion UNC Wilmington dropped GSU back below even as GSU lost its first home series in conference despite an 8-7 Sunday win over the top 50-RPI and NCAA tournament-bound Seahawks April 29.
The Panthers also struggled out of conference, going a month-long span without recording a victory outside CAA play until a May 8 drubbing of UNC Asheville, 13-8.
After dropping a tightly-fought series at VCU, two games to one, to start the season's final month, the Panthers found themselves at 20-28 overall and 11-13 in league play.
Having knocked off many of the other teams in their way for a playoff spot, GSU still controlled its own destiny heading into the final two weekends of the season.
The Panthers scored another walk-off win to open their series against third-place Delaware May 11. Freshman Joel Van Asch delivered the two-out, bases-loaded single for a 4-3 Panther win, but the momentum would not continue in the series. The Panthers dropped their final two home games of the season to the Blue Hens as 10 seniors played their final action at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Remarkably, only one team had been eliminated from postseason play heading into the season's final weekend, and GSU would face it in Old Dominion. The Panthers were still controlling their own destiny for the remaining CAA postseason berth.
An opening 8-1 loss at Old Dominion changed the Panthers plans however, as GSU would need two victories in the last two games of the year, coupled with at least one Towson loss.
Senior Joey Wood's late-inning homer would give the Panthers the second game of the series, 8-6, but a Towson victory over James Madison kept things unclear until the season's final day, May 19.
In an exhilarating finish, the Panthers and Tigers each took their respective games into extra innings simultaneously, GSU needing a victory and a Towson loss.
The Panthers did their part, fighting into the 12th inning to score an 8-4 victory for a series win over the Monarchs. It would not be enough however, as Towson rallied at home from a ninth-inning deficit to sweep JMU and finish one game ahead of GSU for the last CAA tournament berth.
The season came to an end for GSU and in turn the careers of six members of the school's inaugural CAA championship squad in Marshall, Williams, Wood, Daniel Blaustein, Jonathan Kolowich and Justin Malone.
-Williams strong senior campaign cemented his legacy as one of the better players in school history, as he finished in the top five of 16 different school categories, including second in hits (271), runs (169), RBIs (175), doubles (58), at-bats (801) and games played (221).
-Marshall wrapped his time in a Panther uniform with a career season. He led GSU with four complete games and 92.0 innings pitched, earning his first five career victories and two CAA Pitcher of the Week honors.
-Malone capped one of the top pitching careers in school history, finishing second in all-time appearances with 73. He also added two saves to his school-record total of 14, and stands in the top 10 of five other school categories.
-Dyer finished his two seasons in a Panther uniform with a 3.87 ERA, lowest in school history among pitchers with at least 95.0 innings on the mound. His 6-5 mark led the team.
-Freshman Caden Bailey earned a spot on the CAA All-Rookie team, posting a .315 average and 57 hits- third on the squad. The shortstop played in 53 games and scored 28 runs while driving in 16.
-Shields was recognized by College Sports Madness as a Second Team All-CAA infielder, following up his all-conference 2011 season with a .303 average and team-leading 60 hits in 2012.
-Adams earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors Feb. 21 after scoring a team-high six runs with four hits in the opening series win over WIU. He finished his season with a team-high four triples and 17 extra-base hits.
-Kolowich's strong senior campaign was highlighted by a College Sports Madness CAA Player of the Week nod Feb. 21 after he ripped four of his team-leading 13 doubles opening weekend against WIU.
-Mark Hogan finished a unique two-sport school year by batting .319 for the baseball team in the spring after making more than 100 tackles for the football team in the fall.