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Courtesy: Jeff Hurndon
Nathan Bates allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings

Panthers Even Series with 3-2 Win over UALR

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Little Rock, Ark. -- Joey Roach and Chase Raffield homered to back a strong start by Nathan Bates and lead Georgia State to a 3-2 victory over UALR Saturday at Gary Hogan Field, evening the Sun Belt Conference series at one game each.

Georgia State (15-17, 4-7 Sun Belt) and UALR (12-16, 2-9) conclude the series Sunday at 12 noon ET. Please note the earlier start time due to anticipated inclement weather.

Bates, the 6-7 sophomore right-hander, allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings, scattering five hits -- only one for extra bases -- with four strikeouts and two walks to earn his first victory of the season.

"It felt good to be on the mound again," Bates said of his second start since returning from a back injury. "I was throwing strikes, my defense played great behind me, and Joey [Roach] called a great game."

GSU head coach Greg Frady added, "Nathan was exactly what we needed today. He did a fantastic job. We had a rough day in this ballpark yesterday, and we really needed our starter to pitch us into the sixth or seventh inning. This was by far his best outing of the year, and his performance was a real shot of confidence for our team."

Kevin Burgee pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing one run on one hit, to earn his fifth save.

Raffield, the Panthers' senior right fielder gave GSU a 1-0 lead with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third inning that brought home Chad Prain, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.

Roach added to lead one inning later as he led off the fourth with his second home run of the season, a solo blast to right field by the left-handed hitting catcher.

GSU held its 2-0 lead until the sixth when the Trojans managed an unearned run, but Burgee worked out of the jam without further damage.

With the Panthers holding a 2-1 lead, Raffield smashed the first pitch of the ninth inning over the right field fence for his seventh homer of the season and a two-run advantage.

"We didn't have a lot of hits today, but our hits were really maximized," Frady said. "Chase leading off the ninth inning to give us that separation was huge."

In the bottom of the ninth, UALR scored one run on a sacrifice fly and had the tying run at third base with two outs, but Burgee got Austin Pfeiffer to ground out to second base to end the game.

UALR starter Sam Thoele (0-1) allowed just four hits in seven inning and struck out nine but suffered the loss.


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