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Courtesy: Christopher Justice/Images by Justice
Kevin Burgee earned his seventh save.

Panthers Open Series with 6-5 Win at ULM

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Chase Raffield hit his 13th home run of the season and Kenny Anderson and Kevin Burgee combined for a strong pitching performance as Georgia State defeated ULM 6-5 Friday night at Warhawk Field in the opening game of their Sun Belt Conference series.

The two teams entered the weekend tied for seventh place in the league standings and looking to earn one of the eight spots in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Georgia State now moves one game ahead at 24-26, 10-15 Sun Belt, while ULM dropped to 20-31, 9-16.

Anderson, the junior left-hander, scattered eight hits and four runs over 6.1 innings to improve to 5-4 on the season. Burgee pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits, for his seventh save.

"We have 10 seniors who are very hungry to be in that conference tournament, and we took a really good step by winning on Friday night," GSU head coach Greg Frady said.

"Kenny Anderson pitched a great game to put us in position win, and Kevin Burgee was just amazing."

Georgia State got on the board in the first inning as Chad Prain led off with a double, moved to third on Raffield's fly ball and then scored on Joey Roach's two-out single.

The Panthers added three more in the third inning. With one out, Raffield smashed an opposite-field, solo home run over the left field fence. Nic Wilson doubled to right center, and Roach singled to the second baseman. After Wilson scored on a wild pitch, Matt Rose singled to left to put runners at first and third with one out. Caden Bailey brought home Roach with a sacrifice fly, and Georgia State led 4-0 after three innings.

GSU extended its lead to 5-0 as Prain and Chris Triplett reached on back-to-back errors by the third baseman, and Raffield delivered a single to left to knock in Prain.

ULM got on the board with an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth, and the Warhawks inched closer in the fifth as Keelin Rasch's RBI-single pulled ULM within 5-2.

The Panthers added a key insurance run in the sixth on Wilson's run-scoring single that plated Triplett, who drew a two-out walk and moved to third on Raffield's third hit of the day.

"We had a lot of clutch, two-out RBIs tonight," Frady said. "I'm a big believer that the team that gets the two-out RBIs usually puts themselves in position to win.

GSU led 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh when Kodie Tidwell's one-out single started a ULM rally. Rasch followed with a single to put runners at first and second. Burgee relieved Anderson and got a ground ball from Justin Stawychny to retire the runner at second for the second out. After Dalton Herrington singled home Tidwell from third, Bailey made a diving stop at third base to end the inning and preserve the Panthers' 6-4 lead.

"Caden Bailey made an unreal play, diving to save two runs," Frady said.

ULM managed a run in the ninth but Burgee struck out Stawychny to end the game. Burgee's seventh save of the season equals the fourth-best season total in GSU history. The school record is 10.

"We really fought for that game, and it feels great to win on Friday night. Road baseball is very difficult, but our will win was really high tonight."

The series continues Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Live video is available on PantherVision.

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