GEORGIA STATE (3-8) at MERCER (8-4)

Tuesday, March 5, 4 p.m., OrthoGeorgia Park

 

PLEASE NOTE: First pitch has been moved up to 4 p.m. due to anticipated cold temperatures.

 

COVERAGE: Free live audio on PantherVision, via GeorgiaStateSports.com, GSU mobile app.

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

GSU: LHP Tyler Koch (0-0, 24.00) vs. Mercer: LHP Beau Healy (1-0, 2.70)

 

LEADING OFF

>Georgia State opens its annual series with long-time rival Mercer Tuesday at OrthoGeorgia Park in Macon, Ga. First pitch has been moved up to 4 p.m. due to the cold temperatures.

>Georgia State and Mercer have met more than 100 times on the baseball diamond, but due to weather cancellations,the two schools have met just once each of the last two years, and the Panthers are playing at Mercer for the first time since 2016.

>Georgia State has won four of the last five meeting and six of the last eight.

>The Panthers look to get back in the win column after dropping a weekend series against Samford.

>Junior left-hander Tyler Koch will make his first career start at Mercer. Although he has struggled in his first three outings this season, he has a career record of 2-3 with two saves in 46 career relief outings.

>To win its series at Charleston Southern (Feb. 22-23), the Panthers rallied from a 4-1 deficit after six innings and a 6-4 deficit after eight for a 7-6 victory in the deciding game. In the ninth, GSU loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and singles by Griffin Cheney and Brandon Bell. Jake Corso pulled GSU within one with a sacrifice fly, and then Elian Merejo laced a single off the pitcher that deflected into left field to bring home two runs. Freshman Ryan Watson finished the game with two scoreless innings to earn the win.

>Sophomore infielder Griffin Cheney ranks fifth in the Sun Belt with a .406 batting average. He also leads the team with a .474 on-base percentage and 10 runs scored.

>Junior designated hitter Elian Merejo is hitting .333 with two homers and eight RBI.

>Senior first baseman Jake Corso is hitting .333 while leading the Panthers in RBI (9) and in extra-base hits (7), including five doubles, one triple and one home run.

>Preseason All-America and Preseason Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year Hunter Gaddis takes the mound for the Panthers on Friday nights. The junior right-hander has 13 career victories, including a 9-4 record and a 2.95 ERA in 2018, when he tied for the Sun Belt lead in victories while ranking second in the league in innings pitched (100.2), third in strikeouts (98) and fourth in ERA.

>Gaddis is one of three Panthers named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt team. Senior Brandon Bell, GSU’s top returning hitter and starting right fielder who also plays third base and pitches, was named as a utility player. Sophomore Ryan Glass was selected as the DH after earning second-team all-conference honors there in 2018, when he belted seven homers; he is now starting at third base.

>Freshmen reliever Ryan Watson earned a save and a victory in his first two appearances in a Panther uniform. Against UIC, he pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts for the save, then at Charleston Southern, he finished  the game with two scoreless inning to earn the win. 

>Now in his 13th season as the Georgia State head coach, Greg Frady is the Panthers’ career victory leader with 358 in Atlanta as part of his 545 career wins in his 19th season.

 

SERIES VS. MERCER: Georgia State has won four of the last five in the series and six of the last eight, including the last meeting and the last game in Macon.

>Since head coach Greg Frady took over in 2007, GSU leads Mercer 12-8.

>The teams met just once in 2018, and Georgia State won 4-2 in Atlanta. Jack Thompson hit a two-run homer and Will Kilgore added a solo shot. Five Panther pitchers held the Bears to six hits with 10 strikeouts.

>In the last meeting at Mercer in 2016, the Panthers rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to win 10-6. Jack Thompson hit a three-run homer in the game, and Will Kilgore had a two-run single.

>Mercer leads the overall series, which began in 1967, 67-50, but since Georgia State reinstated its program in 1992, the Panthers lead 39-36, including a 35-26 advantage since 1996.

>Mercer is Georgia State’s most frequent opponent as the two schools have played more than 100 times since 1967. Every year that GSU has fielded a baseball team, it has played Mercer at least once.