ATLANTA--Georgia State pitchers Andrew Fessler, Connor Stanley and Matt Rose combined to allow just two runs on five hits and freshman Shane Gordon drove in the winning runs as the Panthers defeated Fordham, 5-2, Sunday at the GSU Baseball Complex to complete a four-game series sweep.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the sixth inning, Gordon delivered a two-out, two-run single to give the Panthers (20-13) a lead they would not relinquish.
Fessler, the junior left-hander from Dallas, Ga., scattered five hits and two runs, only one of which was earned, while striking out a career-high six in 7-1/3 innings to improve to 3-1 on the season. After giving up a one-out walk in the eighth, he gave way to Stanley, who induced an inning-ending double play.
Rose, the freshman right-hander who also drove in two runs on the day, moved from first base to the mound for the ninth inning. After walking the leadoff batter, he struck out three straight to earn his second save.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, but that was a beautiful win,” said Georgia State head coach Greg Frady. “I’m proud of the team for winning today, but I’m even more proud of how we handled our business and pressed through to win four games this weekend.
“There were three great pitching performances today,” Frady continued. “Andrew Fessler did what he normally does, and we’re starting to really rely on that from him. He put us in position to win, pitching us into the eighth inning with only two runs allowed.
Frady achieved another milestone today with his 400th victory as a collegiate head coach, including 213 wins in seven seasons at Georgia State and 187 victories in six seasons as the head coach at North Florida Community College from 1991-96.
Georgia State jumped in front with two runs in the second inning. Scott Sarratt led off the inning with a double and then came home on Rose’s one-out single. Greg Bowder followed with a ground ball that scored Nic Wilson, who walked.
But Fordham (11-19) tied the game in the sixth inning, scoring two runs on Wilson’s throwing error as he fielded a bunt and tried to cut down the lead runner at third base.
In the bottom of the inning, Sarratt led off with a single and then moved to second on Mark Hogan’s sacrifice bunt. Fordham starter Brett Kennedy (2-2) then plunked Wilson, and after striking out Rose, he also hit Bowder to load the bases with two outs.
Left-hander Rich Anastasi relieved Kennedy, and Gordon, the freshman outfielder from Cocoa, Fla., stroked his first pitch into center field for the go-ahead, two-run single.
“That was a huge hit, and I want to give Shane a lot of credit for making an adjustment,” said Frady. “When they changed pitchers, we thought he would get a good pitch to hit, so we told him, hit the ball up the middle, don’t miss it, and stay on top. He did a great job, and that turned out to be the at-bat of the game, by far.”
Rose added an insurance run in the eighth when he singled home Hogan, who led off the inning with a double.
Georgia State Shortstop Chad Prain, the nation’s leading hitter who entered the game with a .480 batting average, went 0-for-3 today to snap his hitting streak at 20 games, the fourth-longest streak in school history and two shy of the school record. Prain did draw a walk and has now reached base in 30 consecutive games.
The Panthers return to action Tuesday when they host Kennesaw State for a 5 p.m. game at the GSU Baseball Complex.