ATLANTA-- Chris Triplett and Joey Roach homered to back an outstanding pitching performance by freshman Matt Rose as Georgia State defeated Hofstra, 10-3, in the opening game of their Colonial Athletic Association series Friday night at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Georgia State broke open a one-run game with six runs in the eighth inning to win its sixth straight CAA game and improve to 12-10 in the conference and 33-18 overall. The Panthers, who are 23-6 at home, have won 17 of their last 22 games. Hofstra fell to 23-25, 8-14 in the CAA.
Rose (2-2), the rookie right-hander making only his second start of the season, allowed just four hits and three runs in 7-1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two before giving way to Jerry Stuckey, who got the final five outs for his second save.
With Georgia State leading 4-3 in the eighth inning, the Panthers exploded for six runs, all with two outs. After Chase Raffield doubled with one out and moved to third on a groundout, Caden Bailey delivered a two-out double down the right field line to plate Raffield and put the Panthers ahead, 5-3.
The Triplett stepped to the plate and quickly fell behind 0-2. After fouling off several pitches, he crushed his fifth homer of the season and second this week over the left field fence for a two-run blast.
Now ahead 7-3, the Panthers added to their lead as Mark Hogan was hit by a pitch, and then Rose drove him home with a double to deep center field. Then Roach, the freshman catcher, followed with his homer, another two-run shot to right field and his third of the season, giving the Panthers a 10-3 lead going to the ninth.
“We did a lot of great things in that inning,” said Frady. “When a game is tight like that, one more run is really big. Chris Triplett’s home run was amazing. He fought through that at-bat with two strikes. Joey Roach’s home run was another huge hit. I’m just really proud of our team.”
Both starting pitchers were outstanding through the first five innings, with Rose allowing only a single run on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. Georgia State managed just one hit off Hofstra starter Bryan Verbitsky (2-4) before the sixth inning, when the Panthers chased him with four runs.
There were a lot of scouts here tonight to see Hofstra’s starter, Bryan Verbitsky, but the story of the night was our guy, Matt Rose,” said Frady. “Matt outpitched him; he did a heckuva job tonight.”
Roach led off with a walk, and then Josh Merrigan singled through the right side. Roach raced for third but throw from right field was wild, allowing him to score.
After an infield single by Chad Prain put runners at first and second, Raffield singled through the right side to score Merrigan and give the Panthers their first lead, 2-1. Bailey followed with a single, also between first and second, to score Prain, and then Triplett laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate Raffield with the fourth run of the inning, putting GSU ahead, 4-1.
Hofstra managed two runs in the eighth as Robbie Cafiero led off with a double down the left field line. After Rose got Taylor Stuart to fly out, he walked pinch hitter T.J. Ehrsam. That brought Stuckey on in relief, and the sophomore righty struck out Kevin Brantley for the second out. But Joe Perez managed a two-out single, his third hit of the day, that scored both runners and brought the Pride within, 4-3.
Merrigan, GSU's outstanding freshman center fielder, extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
The series continues with 1 p.m. games Saturday and Sunday.