What You Need to Know:
* No. 10 Georgia State fell 21-4 to No. 7 Arkansas State in the opening game of the Sun Belt Baseball Championship
* Georgia State's season ends at 22-33.
STATESBORO, GA. -- No. 10 seed Georgia State fell 21-4 to No. 7 Arkansas State in the opening game of the Sun Belt Baseball Championship Thursday at J.I. Clements Field. After falling in the single-elimination tournament, Georgia State's season ends at 22-33.
It just wasn't the Panthers' day from the start as Arkansas State scored three runs, aided by a crucial error, in the third inning and scored in every inning after, including an 11-run fifth inning.
The Panthers hurt themselves with nine walks, five hit batters and two errors.
After falling behind 8-1, GSU scored three runs in the fifth. Nick Gatewood and Jarrett Hood drew bases-loaded walks, and the third run scored on a double play, pulling the Panthers within 8-4. But Arkansas scored 11 in the bottom of the frame.
"Definitely today we did not represent ourselves like I know we can play, and it just wasn't a good game," head coach Greg Frady said. T"here were a lot of positive feelings about playing well today, but for whatever reason, we got off to a sluggish and slow start and things just compounded quickly.
"I do want to give credit to Arkansas State. They played a good game and were ready to play."
Georgia State had to overcome a 1-11 start in the Sun Belt just to make the conference tournament, fighting back to go 9-9 down the stretch, including a series win over rival Georgia Southern on the final weekend to clinch the tournament berth.
"From a season perspective, I'm very proud of the team for never giving up and working hard to qualify for the tournament," Frady said. "There were a lot of bright moments during the season -- beating Ole Miss at Ole Miss when they were ranked in the Top 25, going up to Minnesota and beating a Big Ten team on the road, and winning the series against Georgia Southern to qualify for the tournament -- but after you do all those things, you're only thinking about today and trying to be the best representative for your university. I'm proud of the team, but there's things we have to work on and get better at, and we'll address those now."
Seven seniors played their final game for the Panthers, including four-year center fielder Ryan Blanton, who finishes his career with 23 home runs (top 15 in school history) and 12 triples (second) among his many accomplishments.