ATLANTA-Freshman Garrett Ford pitched eight scoreless innings and Chase Raffield homered and drove in four runs as Georgia State downed George Mason, 12-3, Saturday at the GSU Baseball Complex to even their Colonial Athletic Association series at one game each.

Georgia State improved to 10-6 overall, 1-1 in the CAA, while George Mason is now 7-6, 1-1 CAA.

Ford (2-2), the rookie left-hander from Loganville, Ga., took a shutout into the ninth inning before allowing three runs.

"Garrett went out and had a really great outing," said GSU head coach Greg Frady. "Going eight innings, he saved our bullpen so we are in a good position going into tomorrow with our bullpen intact.  

Ford finished the game with 8-1/3 innings pitched, three runs allowed on nine hits with three walks and one strikeout. He benefitted from three double plays turned by the GSU defense. Freshman Nathan Bates relieved Ford in the ninth and recorded the final three outs.

"All my pitches were working, and I was able to locate where I wanted for the most part," said Ford, the Georgia Class AAAA Player of the Year at Loganville High in 2012. "I just let them put it in play, and my defense did the work. Joey Roach did an awesome job behind the plate.

"Our offense has been awesome all year. It's easy to pitch when they score a lot of runs."

Raffield, a junior from Cochran, Ga., belted an RBI double to right center in the third inning to put GSU ahead 4-0, and one inning later, he blasted a three-run homer to right field. His second long ball of the season put the Panthers ahead, 8-0 after four innings. Georgia State's first eight runs all scored with two outs.

"We had a really tough game last night and you never know how a team is going to show up the next day," said Frady, whose Panthers dropped game one of the series, 14-13, Friday night. "Our team is centered around offense. When we're swinging the bat, we get some confidence going. Then when we pitch well, it just changes the whole complexion of the game. Today we had all three phases going - pitching, hitting and defense, which was great to see."

Sophomore third baseman Caden Bailey had a single and a run-scoring triple to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.

Senior second baseman Greg Bowder also tripled and went 3-for-3 with a career-high three RBI in the game. Junior left fielder Chris Triplett collected three hits and scored three runs, and freshman catcher Joey Roach added two hits and two RBI for the Panthers.

George Mason starter Anthony Montefucso (1-1) took the loss, allowing 10 runs, seven of them earned, on 11 hits in four innings. Tucker Tobin and Patrick Esposito had two hits each for the Patriots.

The series concludes with a 1 p.m. game Sunday at the GSU Baseball Complex.

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