Clements, Raffield Lead Panthers to 11-10 Win over UTA
ATLANTA -- Chase Raffield homered and drove in three runs and James Clements knocked in four, including the go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning as Georgia State defeated UT Arlington 11-10 Friday at the GSU Baseball Complex in the opening game of their Sun Belt Conference series.
Georgia State (17-18, 5-8 Sun Belt) trailed 9-7 in the seventh when Matt Rose's solo homer, his eighth of the season, cut the Panthers' deficit to one.
In the eighth, pinch hitter Ryan Blanton delivered a one-out single up the middle, the second consecutive game in which the freshman from Parkview High School has started a late rally with a pinch hit. Another pinch hitter, Chad Prain, was hit by a 2-2 pitch to put runners at first and second with two outs for Clements. The sophomore third baseman smashed a double to the wall in the left field corner, scoring both runners and putting the Panthers ahead 10-9.
"James' two-out RBIs were exactly what our team needed," GSU head coach Greg Frady said. "We fought hard the whole way, and earning the win here on Friday night does wonders for our team.
Raffield followed with a single to left center to score Clements with a key insurance run.
"Chase is very hot right now, and he had clutch RBIs tonight," Frady said. "The two-run home run he had was so huge, and the two-out RBI he had in the eighth that gave us a two-run lead turned out to be so important."
Senior left-hander Ben Burns (4-1) came on in the seventh and pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn his team-leading fourth victory. Kevin Burgee allowed a solo homer by Ryan Bottger in the ninth but struck out Greg McCall for the final out to earn his sixth save.
"Ben came in and stabilized the game when we really needed it," Frady said. "He came in and did a heckuva job."
Nic Wilson gave the Panthers an early lead with a two-run double in the third inning. He moved to third on an error and then scored when Rose's ground ball to third base was misplayed, giving GSU a 3-1 lead.
After McCall led off the fourth for UTA (14-20, 6-7) with a homer off the foul pole in right field, the Panthers added four runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 7-2 lead.
With runners at first and second and two outs, Clements placed a single through the left side to score both runners. Raffield followed with a two-run homer to right center, his eighth of the season for the five-run lead.
UT Arlington moved ahead with a six-run sixth and then added another run in the seventh for 9-7 advantage.
The series continues with a 2 p.m. game Saturday, which is part of the All Blue All In Day at Panthersville, which begins with a football scrimmage at 11 a.m. at the GSU Soccer Complex and also includes a softball doubleheader (1 p.m.) and men's soccer exhibition games (1 and 4 p.m.).
Georgia State's 2009 championship team will honored before Saturday's baseball game.