Panthers Open Troy Series with 8-6 Win
PLEASE NOTE: First pitch for Saturday's game vs. Troy has been moved to 3 p.m.
ATLANTA -- Chase Raffield had three hits and drove in two runs and Chris Triplett homered to lead Georgia State to an 8-6 victory over Troy in the opening game of their Sun Belt Conference series Friday at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Georgia State (13-14, 2-5 Sun Belt) trailed 4-3 before scoring two runs in the fifth inning. Chad Prain led off with a single and Nic Wilson walked to put runners at first and third with one out. Raffield ripped a double down the right field line to score Prain and tie the game. After Jody Stone walked, Caden Bailey brought home Wilson with the go-ahead run with a fielder's choice ground ball to right side, and the Panthers led 5-4 after five.
One inning later, David Levy delivered a run-scoring double to center field to push GSU's advantage to 6-4, but Troy (14-12, 3-3 Sun Belt) got that run back on Matthew Howard's RBI-single in the seventh.
With the Panthers holding a 6-5 lead in the seventh, Triplett provided a key insurance run with his solo blast down the left field line, his third homer of the season.
Troy again cut their deficit to one on Garrett Pitt's run-scoring single in the eight, but GSU answered in the bottom of the eighth. Wilson and Raffield drew two-out walks off reliever Marc Skinner, and Wilson came home on Jody Stone's sharp ground ball that third baseman Nick Masonia could not handle.
"Winning on Friday night is important. We've really played some good games lately without getting the result that we wanted, so to play well here tonight and fight and find a way to win means everything. It really feels good to win.
"Chris Triplett's home run to give us that separation was huge. Every run tonight we needed."
GSU starter Kenny Anderson (3-2) scattered eight hits and four runs over six innings with three walks and two strikeouts to earn the victory. Kevin Burgee pitched the final two innings for his fourth save.
"What we really wanted from Kenny was to pitch us into the fifth-sixth-seventh inning and give us a chance to win, and he did just that," Frady said. "He did a good job of minimizing opportunities that they had and scattering those eight hits."
Georgia State took a 2-0 lead in the second inning off Troy starter Tanner Hicks (2-4). Raffield led off with a single up the middle, and then Stone laced a double to left center to put runners at second and third for Caden Bailey, who bounced a single over the first baseman's head to bring home Raffield. Then Triplett bunted down the first base line for a sacrifice that scored Stone from third.
Troy cut the Panthers' lead in half on Pitts' run-scoring double in the third, but in the bottom of the inning, Raffield delivered a single up the middle to score Wilson, who belted a two-out double to right center.
Trailing 3-1, Troy grabbed the lead with a three-run third inning, including a two-run double inside the bag at third by Masonia and a sacrifice fly by Tyler Vaughn.
The series continues Saturday with a game scheduled for 2 p.m.