Auburn, Ala.—The Georgia State baseball team held an early lead and then threatened late before falling at Auburn, 9-6, Tuesday at Plainsman Park.

State (18-12) led 4-2 before Auburn (21-12) tied the game in the bottom of the third and then took the lead for good with three runs in the fourth, the key blow a two-out, two-run single by Brian Fletcher. The Tigers added two more runs in the fifth on a two-run triple by Mike Bianucci to extend their lead to 9-4.


State scratched for a run in the sixth as Mike McCree led off with a double, moved to third on a fly ball and then scored on Nick Hogan’s single. Trailing 9-5, The Panthers threatened in the eighth, putting runners at first and second with one out, but Bradley Logan grounded into a double play.


The Panthers added another run in the ninth as Marc Mimeault doubled and moved to third on a groundout. After Derek Simmons walked, pinch hitter Bobby Bennett drove in Mimeault with a sharply hit ball to second that was ruled an error, pulling State within three runs. The Panthers had first and third with one out but ended the game with a strikeout and a groundout.


Hogan, Mimeault and Mike McCree each delivered two hits for the Panthers. For Auburn, Bianucci and Fletcher drove in five of the Tigers’ nine runs.


“I thought we fought hard, but little things can make a difference and that was the case tonight,” said Georgia State head coach Greg Frady.


Auburn got on the board in the first inning with a pair of runs on consecutive sacrifice flies by Bianucci and Hunter Morris. The Panthers answered in the bottom of the inning on McCree’s RBI single and then took the lead with three runs in the third.


After Hogan walked to lead off the third, Jean-Michel Rochon-Salvas doubled, and then Logan and Mimeault followed with run-scoring singles. Chase Childers beat out a bunt single to load the bases with no outs, but the Panthers only managed one more run on Theo Asher’s groundout. Still, State led 4-2 after two-and-a-half innings.


But Auburn tied the game at 4-all with two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Joseph Sanders and another sacrifice fly, this one by Kevin Patterson.


In a staff game for both clubs, each team used six pitchers. Georgia State starter Kenny Camp pitched 2-1/3 innings and allowed four runs, while Joel Reeves (1-1) took the loss in relief. Luke Greinke (3-2) earned the win for the Tigers, allowing one run in two innings.


Georgia State, playing five straight games on the road, travels to Colonial Athletic Association leader UNC Wilmington for a three-game weekend series beginning Friday.