Anderson, Burns Pitch Panthers Past Arkansas State, 5-1
ATLANTA -- Matt Rose and Chris Triplett homered and Joey Roach drove in the go-ahead run, backing a strong pitching performance by Kenny Anderson and Ben Burns as Georgia State downed Arkansas State 5-1 Friday at the GSU Baseball Complex.
The Panthers (20-23, 6-13 Sun Belt) won their third straight game and knocked off the Sun Belt Conference's second-place team to a 1-0 lead in the series. GSU snapped Arkansas State's (24-18, 13-6) five-game conference winning streak.
Anderson and Burns limited the Red Wolves to one run on six hits, and the two left-handers combined for four pickoffs in the game.
A junior from Loganville, Ga., Anderson (4-3) pitched seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits with two walks and one strikeout. He picked a runner off second base in the first inning and another one at first in the fourth inning. He retired the final 10 batters he faced.
"Kenny pitched like a Friday night guy with a one-run lead," GSU head coach Greg Frady said. "He pitched seven innings and he wasn't near 100 pitches, so I think that's why he was still strong at the end."
Burns came on to throw the final two frames for his first save. After retiring the side in the eighth, he allowed back-to-back singles to open the ninth but picked both runners off first base.
Rose's solo home run that led off the second inning, his ninth of the season that travelled well over left field fence, was the Panthers' only run until the sixth.
"What an unbelievable monster-shot that was, but what made it even more impressive is that was a 10-pitch at-bat," Frady said. "He absolutely battled, and won. That set the pace for how we want to play. We had some really good at-bats tonight. We grinded and got their starter in a bad-pitch count from the beginning."
when Nic Wilson started a two-out rally by drawing a walk. Wilson moved to second on a wild pitch, and then Rose's single to the left side was knocked down by the shortstop, putting runners at first and third.
Cody Woodhouse came on in relief of Arkansas State starter David Owen (5-3), and Roach smacked his first pitch up the middle for a single to bring home Wilson with the go-ahead run.
With the Panthers still holding just a 2-1 lead, Chase Raffield led off the eighth with a walk before Woodhouse retired Wilson and rose on flyouts.
That brought Roach to the plate again with two outs, and the sophomore catcher smashed a triple to the gap in left center, scoring Raffield with a key insurance run.
"I can't remember the last time I ran that far, to be honest," Roach laughed, describing his first career triple.
Frady added, "Joey Roach was the offensive star for us tonight because he had clutch at-bats. He knocked in the go-ahead run, and he knocked in the very important third run."
Then Triplett gave the Panthers breathing room with a two-run homer to center field, his fifth of the season and second this week.
Despite scoring the winning run, Raffield had his 16-game hitting streak snapped.
Matt Burgess drove in the Red Wolves' only run with a single in the third inning that drove in Austin Baker, who doubled on a ball that dropped into shallow center field between the shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. That was Arkansas State's only extra-base hit.
The series continues with a 2 p.m. game Saturday at the GSU Baseball Complex.