Kennesaw, Ga. – Greg Bowder’s 10th-inning single drove home pinch runner Caleb Gore with the winning run to lift Georgia State to a 3-2 victory over Kennesaw State Tuesday evening at Stillwell Stadium, the Panthers’ third extra-inning win in their last five games.
Georgia State (25-14), which has won nine of its last 10 games, tied the game in the top of ninth as Chad Prain slid home safely to score from second base on an error by shortstop Dylan Ivey, who misplayed a ground ball off the bat of pinch hitter Joey Roach.
The win clinched the season series between the two Atlanta-area rivals for the Panthers, who also defeated KSU last week at home, 12-5. The two teams will meet one more time May 8 at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Five Georgia State pitchers combined to limit the Owls to two runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts. Connor Stanley (4-1) earned the victory with 1-1/3 innings of scoreless relief after coming on with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the ninth.
“When the game was at crunch time, everybody found a way. Last year we won 24 games, to be at 25 at this point in the season feels really good, and I’m proud of the team.”
But Alex Liquori’s two-run home run in the seventh inning put the Owls ahead, 2-1.
The Panthers left 11 runners on base through the first eight innings before rallying in the ninth. After Drew Shields belted a one-out single to center field, Prain hit a chopper to second base to force Shields for the second out, but he beat the throw to first to keep the Panthers alive.
Chase Raffield singled behind the bag at second base. Second baseman Andy Almonte made a nice play to knock the ball down and tried to flip it to second for the force, but Ivey could not handle the throw and Prain was safe.
Then Roach hit his ball that Ivey misplayed and Prain managed to slide under the tag for the tying run.
Nic Wilson led off the 10th for the Panthers and was hit by a pitch, one of seven hit batters by the KSU staff on the night. Gore pinch ran, and Triplett moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt.
That’s when Bowder, the senior second baseman from nearby Acworth, delivered his single through the right side to plate Gore with the go-ahead run. Stanley retired the side in the bottom of the inning, striking out Max Pentecost for the final out.
Bowder also made an outstanding defensive play in the sixth inning with a diving stop on a ground ball to his right, likely saving a run.
GSU freshman Matt Rose made his first start on the mound and threw four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out two.
“Absolutely awesome,” Frady said of Rose. “I had to just make myself take him out. You saw the future tonight, but we were committed to using our entire staff tonight to get ready for the weekend, and the good news is we didn’t have to overuse anyone.”
Prain, who entered the game as the nation’s leading hitter with a .444 batting average, did not manage a hit but walked and was hit by a pitch to reach base safely for the 36th consecutive game.
Georgia State, which played its fifth consecutive road game and fifth straight one-run game tonight, continues its road swing with a CAA series at James Madison, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.