PANTHERSVILLE--Down 7-6 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Georgia State baseball team rallied for two runs to win their sixth straight game, an 8-7 decision over Southeastern Louisiana tonight at The Field.
"The one thing I can not stop thinking about this team is that they are winners," said Georgia State head coach Greg Frady. "From how they conducted themselves in the dugout to the way they played on the field, they just have a real winning attitude, and it really came through today."
Matt Van Horn doubled with two out in the eighth inning to start the State rally. On a 2-1 pitch, Bradley Logan singled through the left side, and Van Horn was waved around third all the way. The throw home from left field was up the third base line, and Van Horn scored to tie the score at 7-7. Just as importantly, Logan advanced to second on the throw home, giving the Panthers another runner in scoring position. After a walk to Chase Childers, both Panthers runners moved up 90-feet on a wild pitch.
With the count 1-0 and Dusty Bennett at bat, Coach Frady signaled for a fake squeeze play. The strategy worked, as the distraction forced a wild pitch and brought Logan home to score the winning run.
In the early innings, the two teams were matching each other run for run. An RBI groundout by Xavier Qualls gave Southeastern (11-5) a 1-0 lead in the first. The Panthers responded with an RBI double by Luke Gordon to even the score. Southeastern put two more on the board in the top of the second on a sac fly by Ricky Newman and a single by Mitchell Haynes. State (10-7) came back with two of their own with two out in the bottom of the inning. Jean-Michel Rochon-Salvas reached on an infield hit to score Nick Pyron, and when the throw to first went wildly into foul territory, Michael McCree raced home to tie the score at 3-all.
Southeastern scored three in the third, scoring on an RBI ground out by Bryan Frichter and a Panther fielding error. State could only answer with two runs this time, getting runs when Pyron reached on a fielder's choice and when Rochon-Salvas walked with the bases loaded. Southeastern notched their final run in the fifth on a wild pitch. The Panthers scored in the sixth when Logan grounded into a double play, scoring Pelt from third. That would be all the scoring until the late inning heroics.
Kevin Dooley earned his first win as a Panther pitching two scoreless innings. But it didn't come without drama, as the Lions put runners on the corners with two out. On the first pitch, Newman hit a slow chopper between the mound and first that Dooley dove for but couldn't reach. Rochon-Salvas came charging in, fielded the ball with his glove and flipped the ball out of his glove while diving to Pelt at first. The defensive gem was just in time, as Newman was out by a half-step to end the game.
Chris Province was the losing pitcher for Southeastern, going five innings in relief and giving up eight hits. Province was lifted with the score tied at 7-7, as the deciding run was still his responsibility. Jeramy Compton went four innings to start the game for the Panthers, giving up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits. Adam Bowling pitched three scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk, setting the stage for Dooley's two scoreless innings with two hits.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow at The Field. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m.