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Courtesy: Randy Wilson Photography

Wilson Hits Three Bombs to Lead GSU to 15-10 Victory, Series Win

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ATLANTA -- Nic Wilson tied the school and Sun Belt Conference record with three home runs and Chase Raffield homered and drove in six to lead Georgia State to a 15-10 win over South Alabama Sunday on Senior Day at the GSU Baseball Complex.

Wilson, who now has 16 homers on the season, and Raffield, who has 12, are two of the 10 GSU seniors who all saw action on Senior Day as the Panthers (23-25, 9-15 Sun Belt) won the Sun Belt Conference series, two games to one.

Wilson hit a solo homer to right center in the fourth inning, a two-run blast to center in the sixth that put the Panthers ahead for good and another two-run bomb to left in the seventh. His is the sixth three-homer game in GSU history by five different players, most recently by Chad Smith vs. Western Carolina in 2000. He also tied the Sun Belt record held by 39 other players. He finished with five RBI.

Georgia State fell behind 5-1 before exploding for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Wilson led off with his first homer of the day, and then Joey Roach followed with another solo home run, his third of the season, to cut the deficit in half. Matt Rose came within inches of making it three in a row but settled for a double high off the wall in left center, and Caden Bailey drove him in with a single to right.

David Levy dropped a single into center field to put runners at first and second with no outs, chasing starter Hunter Solemanyi. After Ryan Blanton moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice, Chad Prain singled to center off reliever Brandon Hallford (3-2) to plate Bailey and tie the game at 5-5.

Raffield came up with two outs and two on and blasted a three-run homer to right field, his 12th of the season, giving GSU an 8-5 lead.

South Alabama (21-26, 10-13) regained the lead at 9-8 with four runs in the top of the fifth.

With GSU trailing by a run, Chris Triplett started a two-out rally in the seventh with a triple to left center. Raffield tied the game with a single to left, bringing up Wilson in another crucial situation. The 6-6 first baseman fell behind 0-2 before crushing a home run to straight away center field, giving the Panthers an 11-9 lead they would not relinquish.

After Roach was hit by a pitch, Rose doubled him home for a 12-9 advantage.

The Jaguars got one run back in the top of the seventh, but Georgia State answered with three more runs in the seventh. Raffield delivered a one-out single for his sixth RBI of the day to score Prain, who reached on an error. Then Wilson completed the hat trick with a high, towering shot to left field for his 16th homer of the season. He is third in the NCAA.

"It's certainly a big day. It means a lot to play in front of so many friends and family, but we just tried to concentrate on playing good baseball," Wilson said. "We tried not to make it more than it was, but looking back, we really enjoyed what happened today. All the seniors played well today. We just went out and had fun."

Head coach Greg Frady missed the game due to the death of his father.

GSU starter Aidan McLaughlin, also a senior, ran into trouble in the fifth. Another senior, Ben Burns, pitched two-thirds of an inning to stabilize the game, and then senior Andrew Fessler (3-4) pitched 2.2 innings, allowing just one unearned run on four hits to earn the win.

Senior Hunter Cash finished the game with a scoreless ninth innning.

"Every senior on our club got into the game, and they all contributed. It was a great day," assistant coach Willie Stewart said.

Georgia State plays its final home game of the season Wednesday when the Panthers host Atlanta-area rival Kennesaw State at 6 p.m.


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