ATLANTA--Georgia State fell at No. 20 Georgia Tech, 16-5, Tuesday afternoon at Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium in the only meeting this season between the two Atlanta schools.
GSU evened its record at 2-2, while Georgia Tech, improved to 4-0 on the season.
Freshman catcher Joey Roach hit his first home run for the Panthers. After Nic Wilson led off the second inning with a walk, the rookie from Holly Springs, N.C., belted a 2-2 pitch over the fence in right centerfield for a two-run blast.
Freshman Josh Merrigan, this week's CAA Rookie of the Week, continued his hot hitting, legging out a run-scoring triple in the fifth inning. He is batting .571 on the young season.
Freshman third baseman Matt Rose and sophomore shortstop Caden Bailey contributed two hits apiece for the Panthers.
Georgia Tech jumped on GSU starter Ben Burns (1-1) with three runs in the first inning, aided by two Panther errors. Georgia State answered with two runs in the second on Roach's homer, but the Yellow Jackets managed to score at least one run in the first seven innings. Burns allowed six runs but only four earned in three innings while striking out three.
"The game got away from us quickly," said GSU head coach Greg Frady, who started three freshmen in the field today. "We didn't play well collectively, we didn't pitch well, and we didn't play defense well early in the game, and we got off to a slow start. We have a good offense, but when you put that much pressure on your offense by falling behind early, it's difficult to get untracked."
Trailing 6-2 after four innings, Georgia State mounted a rally in the fifth. Chris Triplett walked to lead off the inning and then came home on Merrigan's triple. Bailey then drove in Merrigan with a one-out single to center field to pull the Panthers within 6-4. After reached on a fielder's choice, the Panthers had runners at first and second with one out, but Heddinger got out of the jam by retiring Chase Raffield and Wilson.
The Panthers added a run in the ninth when Mark Hogan drew a bases-loaded walk.
Georgia State used seven pitchers in the game, including four freshmen.
Georgia Tech starter Josh Heddinger (1-0) pitched five innings to earn the victory, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Second baseman Matt Gonzalez led Tech with three hits and four RBI, including a two-run homer in the third inning.
"Give Georgia Tech credit. They played well, and they have a very good team," said Frady. "But we've got to work on the things that we can control. We did some good things tonight, but we've got to go back to the practice field tomorrow and focus on the things that we can control and do better.
"We have a young team and this is the first day we've been away from Panthersville," Frady continued. "It's just the nature of where we are in the program right now with a lot of freshman on the field. It will pay dividends later, but right now I'm not thinking about later, I'm thinking about what we're going through right now. But we'll come back at it tomorrow and be better when we play Thursday."
The Panthers will play their next five games at home, beginning Thursday with Alabama A&M (4 p.m.), followed by a three-game series against Grambling State with games Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Georgia visits the GSU Baseball Complex next Tuesday at 4 p.m. to complete the homestand.