PANTHERSVILLE, Ga.--Sophomore Matt Van Horn turned on a 2-1 pitch and launched a walk-off solo home run, giving the Georgia State baseball team an important 4-3 win in 10 innings over Hofstra today at The Field at Panthersville (updated standings below).
"This was a real team effort for us in this win today," said Panthers head coach Greg Frady, who saw his team improve to 23-25 overall and 12-12 in Colonial Athletic Association play.
The Panthers trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth but came off the deck to tie the game, then win in extra innings. Sophomore Chase Childers drew a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bradley Logan, then scored on a solid one-out single to left by junior Kenny Camp against Hofstra hurler Jeff Denlea.
In the 10th, Van Horn came to the plate with one out and facing Ryan Dunn of the Pride. Ahead in the count, Van Horn knew the situation favored him as the batter. "I was just looking for a good pitch to hit so I could get on base. [Dunn] left a changeup right over the plate and I just turned on it," Van Horn said.
"When you're in extra innings, you just try to bear down and do whatever it takes to get the win," Van Horn added. "I felt like if I got on base, we'd have a good opportunity to win. But it feels great to be able to get the win for our team."
State trailed 2-0 after Hofstra (17-32, 9-17 CAA) scored a pair in the fourth against Panthers starter Jeramy Compton. Hofstra's Will DeVito was solid for Hofstra in the beginning phases, not allowing a hit until Logan's single in the fifth. But State reached the Hofstra hurler in the sixth for a pair of runs. After back-to-back hits by senior Eric Suttle and junior Jean-Michel Rochon-Salvas, Van Horn drove in his first run of the game with a single into right. Then with two outs, senior Aeden McQueary legged out an infield hit, scoring Rochon-Salvas from third to pull the Panthers into a 2-2 tie.
Hofstra tacked on the go-ahead run in the eighth, with the run charged to Compton. After a single and a bunt, Kevin Dooley relieved Compton, but gave up a single to Andrew Campana, allowing Chris Mentrasti to score to give the Pride the lead. Dooley would load the bases before giving way to Bowling, who came in and got out of a bases loaded jam with a groundout back to the mound.
State's defense stepped up in both the ninth and 10th innings to keep Hofstra off the board. With runners on first and second and one out in the ninth, Bowling got George Carroll to miss a bunt attempt for strike three, then McQueary threw down to second to pick off Dion Pouncil. In the final frame, Hofstra loaded the bases with two out for Nick Panzarella. The centerfielder hit a roller towards Camp at first, who had to scurry to field the ball and flip to Bowling, who just reached first base in time to retire Panzarella to end the inning.
Bowling improved to 6-1 on the season, regaining a solo lead on the Panthers squad in wins. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and striking out one. Compton went 7.1 innings, matching the length of each outing for Panthers starting pitchers this weekend. He allowed eight hits and three runs but struck out four and walked no one.
Ryan Dunn was saddled with the loss to drop to 0-6 on the year. He pitched one-third of an inning before giving up Van Horn's homer. Starter Will DeVito was lifted after allowing two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings of action.
The Panthers have concluded their CAA home schedule, but will still have two more non-conference games at home. The first of those games will be this Tuesday when they host Jacksonville State at The Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
CAA Standings (Sunday Night)
1. Old Dominion 15-8
1. VCU 15-8
3. Delaware 14-9
4. UNCW 15-11
5. Mason 14-11
6. STATE 12-12
7. Northeastern 10-13
8. W & M 11-15
9. JMU 9-13
10. Towson 8-15
11. Hofstra 9-17