ATLANTA-Chase Raffield homered and drove in four runs and freshman Garrett Ford pitched six strong innings in his debut as Georgia State (2-0) won its second straight over Butler, 17-9, Saturday at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Ford (1-0), the left-hander who was the 2012 Georgia Class AAAA Player of the Year at Loganville (Ga.) High School, allowed just four hits and two runs, only one earned, to earn his first collegiate victory. He struck out two and walked only one.
I really felt like he was the star of the game," Georgia State head coach Greg Frady said of Ford. "To pitch six innings and only give up one earned run - that was a great start for us when we needed it. He set the pace and gave us a chance to control the game."
Raffield blasted a three-run homer in sixth inning and added an RBI-single in the seventh. The junior from Cochran, Ga., has driven in seven runs in Georgia State's first two games, in which the Panthers have put across 29 runs.
Freshman Josh Merrigan continued his strong start with two hits and three RBI on the day. In the Panthers' first two games, the former Walton High standout from Marietta, Ga., has five hits and five RBI in eight at-bats.
Another newcomer, junior infielder Chad Prain, also drove in three runs for the Panthers.
"We played through some tough conditions today," said Frady, referring to the cold, windy afternoon. "Offensively we did a great job. Right now we're still trying to work through getting a lot of guys into the game for the first time. The good news is, collectively as a team we're winning the game and playing well. Twenty-nine runs in two games, I think anyone would be happy with that."
Georgia State jumped on Butler from the start, scoring a run in the first inning on an RBI single by Caden Bailey. The Panthers added four in the second and two in the third to jump out to a 7-2 lead, and the blew the game open with 10 runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
In the second inning, Merrigan belted a triple to score Joey Reach, who reached on error. Merrigan then came home on a bunt single by Prain. Freshman Matt Rose delivered a two-run single later in the inning. Rose had three hits on the day.
After Ford's six-inning start, four Panther relievers finished the game, including freshman Matt McCloskey, who did not allow a hit in two scoreless innings.
Butler (0-2) first baseman Jimmy Risi homered for the second straight day and had two RBI, and Mike Kseniak also drove in two runs for the Bulldogs.
Butler starter Gunner Johnson (0-1) gave up seven runs on eight hits in three innings to take the loss.
The two teams conclude their three-game series with a 1 p.m. game Sunday at the GSU Baseball Complex.