Update: With rain expected in the Atlanta area Sunday, GSU and Delaware will complete their series with a Saturday doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m.
ATLANTA- Freshman pinch hitter Joel Van Asch delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Georgia State baseball team past Delaware, 4-3, Friday night in a Colonial Athletic Association series opener at the GSU Baseball Complex.
It was the Panthers' ninth one-run win of the season but just the second when entering the ninth inning behind as GSU handed Delaware closer Stephen Richter his first loss of the year.
GSU answered Delaware's eighth inning rally in the process as the Panthers had led 2-0 through seven.
Panther senior Justin Malone gave GSU another strong outing in his final home start, yielding just two hits through the first seven innings before Delaware connected for three in the eighth.
Jake Dyer (4-5) picked up the win by tossing a scoreless ninth to keep the Panthers down just one.
The win improves the sixth-place Panthers to 22-28 overall and 12-13 in the tight CAA race, while third-place Delaware dropped to 24-23, 14-11.
"(Van Asch) picked our team up when we really desperately needed it the most," said head coach Greg Frady. "I just have confidence in him as a hitter, I really do."
"The first thing I told myself was to 'get a good pitch to hit'," Van Asch said of the game-winner. "He left a fastball up so I drove it the other way."
Van Asch's drive was just the seventh hit of the game for the Panthers as each team committed three errors in the contest.
Senior Landon Bennett continued his hot streak with two more hits, including a double, to extend his multiple-hit streak to five straight games. Kody Adams also had a pair of hits while Mark Hogan led off the winning rally in the ninth with a pinch-hit single.
GSU scored the first run of the game in the second inning on Joey Wood's RBI groundout.
Malone kept the Blue Hens at bay with seven strikeouts over 7.2 innings and no walks, equaling his season-long performance from a week ago at VCU.
Jonathan Kolowich drew a one-out walk on a 13-pitch at bat in the sixth, moved to third on an Adams single and scored on a catcher's throwing error to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the tight game.
The Blue Hens finally broke through in the eighth off Malone as D.J. Long and Nick Ferdinand each knocked two-out RBI doubles to tie the game. A throwing error later in the inning allowed Ferdinand to plate the go-ahead run as GSU fell behind, 3-2.
The Panthers went down quietly in the bottom of the inning and Dyer set down the Blue Hens in order in the top of the ninth to set up the finish.
The Panthers put the first two men aboard in the ninth on Richter with Hogan's pinch-hit single and a walk by Caden Bailey. Drew Shields moved the runners over with a sac bunt and Brandon Williams was intentionally walked to load the bases. After a strikeout made it two down, Van Asch drilled a shot into left-center on the first pitch that escaped a diving attempt from the Blue Hens center fielder to score both Hogan and Bailey to win the game.
The win helps GSU keep pace with Towson (23-27, 12-13), who also won Friday as the teams remain locked in sixth place.
With rain expected in the Atlanta area Sunday, GSU and Delaware will complete their series with a Saturday doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m.
Senior Day ceremonies will take place approximately 30 minutes before the start of game one.
Those who were planning to attend the Junior Day function Sunday are invited to come to Saturday's 1 p.m. game.