PANTHERSVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia State baseball offense exploded again, scoring 12 runs on 14 hits en route to a 12-2 series-opening win over IPFW Friday night at The Field at Panthersville. Nick Hogan and Bradley Logan led the Panthers with three hits and three RBIs apiece while Robinson Polanco threw seven innings and gave up two runs to record the win.
Georgia State (5-0) got on the board first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Theo Asher opened the inning with a hard hit ball that the IPFW first baseman failed to field cleanly. Dusty Bennett hit into a fielder’s choice at first, but IPFW’s Shaun VanDriessche threw wide to second and pulled off the Mastodon shortstop. With the bases loaded, Matt Van Horn brought in the game’s first run on a chopper to first base. VanDriessche threw wildly to home, allowing the run to score and keeping the bases loaded. Jean-Michel Rochon-Salvas hit into a 6-4-3 double play that brought in the second run.
IPFW (0-1) reclaimed a run in the fourth. Chris Gottschall drove in Jared Davis, who doubled, with a single through the left side. Up 2-1, State’s patient approach at the plate paid off in the fifth. Bennett tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a dropped fly ball. After the Mastodons lifted starter Cole Uebelhor for Chad Nielsen, the Panther attack really woke up.
Nielson walked the first batter he faced and Bradley Logan made the righty pay with a single to center that scored Nick Hogan, giving the Panthers a 4-1 lead. With the bases loaded again, Marc Mimeault got hit by a pitch to drive in a run. Derek Simmons capped the scoring with a sac fly to center field, helping State take a 6-1 lead.
The teams traded some runs in the sixth, as Panther starter Robinson Polanco (2-0) tired some. However, the lefty buckled down in the seventh and quickly sat down the side in order. “Robinson threw very well,” said assistant coach Brad Stromdahl, in charge of the team during head coach Greg Frady’s absence. “He came through in some tough spots, but he trusted the defense and made IPFW put the ball in play.”
In the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers sealed the game with four runs. Hogan singled to center field with runners at second and third, giving State a 10-2 advantage. A throwing error brought in another run while Rochon-Salvas capped the scoring with a single to left field.
Panther reliever John Locklear entered in the eighth and induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning after walking the leadoff batter. Zach Chastain pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the game for State.
“Coming into the week, the coaches told us to remain focused and concentrate on our defense,” said Logan. “Any one guy can spark this team, and that’s what Nick Hogan’s diving catch in the first did for us. His defense got the guys going offensively.”
IPFW struggled defensively in its first game of the season, committing seven errors. Georgia State took advantage of those errors, scoring three unearned runs. “We executed very well defensively tonight, added Stromdahl, as the Panther defense committed no errors.
Logan and Hogan were the two catalysts for the State attack tonight. Logan went 3-for-4 with three RBIs while Hogan went 3-for-6 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
The teams return to action tomorrow at 1 p.m. for a doubleheader.
NOTES: Chase Childers collected his 14th career sacrifice hit to take sole possession of sixth place in school history, breaking a tie with Michael Brand (1993-96) ... In the fifth inning, Jean-Michel Rochon-Salvas was hit by a pitch for the 16th time in his career, moving him into sixth place in school history ... The Quebecer also collected his 208th career hit, tying Jay Langston (1997-99) for fifth in Panther history.