GEORGIA STATE (14-34) vs. PRESBYTERIAN (22-25)

Wednesday, May 8  |  5 p.m.  |  GSU Baseball Complex

COVERAGE: Live stats on GeorgiaStateSports.com, GSU mobile app

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS:

GSU Fr. RHP Joseph Brandon (1-4, 8.69) vs. PC RHP Matt Norton (1-0, 5.61)

 

LEADING OFF

Georgia State plays its final midweek home game as the Panthers host Presbyterian (which plays at Clemson Tuesday) Wednesday at 5 p.m. The two teams will meet again next Tuesday, May 13, at Presbyterian.

GSU and Presbyterian are meeting for the first time since 2008, when the Panthers swept two games in Atlanta, 10-4 and 7-1. Georgia State leads the series 4-2.

Freshman RHP Ryan Watson earned his team-leading sixth victory at Texas State (May 4) as he finished the 3-1 win with 2.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief. Watson is tied for second in the Sun Belt in wins, and his six victories are the most ever by a Georgia State freshman.

Senior Rhett Harper homered and drove in two runs in the win over Texas State. In the eighth inning, Harper hit a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1, and then in the ninth, his RBI-single provided a key insurance run, and GSU held on for the 3-1 victory to snap Texas State’s nine-game Sun Belt winning streak.

Harper’s homer was just the second of his career and his first since Feb. 14, 2015. Since then, the fifth-year senior moved to the mound and became the team’s closer in 2017, missed 2018 due to elbow surgery and then returned to the outfield and the batting lineup midway through this season. Despite not batting for three years, he is hitting .323 with 12 RBI in 20 games, and he graduates this week with a 4.16 grade point average in finance.

First baseman and top hitter Jake Corso returned to the lineup at Texas State and went 5-for-10, including an RBI-double, after missing six weeks due to a hand injury.  He led the team in average, RBI and extra-base hits when he was injured March 19.

In their 15-11 come-from-behind victory over Coastal Carolina on April 28, Georgia State trailed 10-5 after five innings, then outscored the Chanticleers 10-1. GSU tied the game on Elian Merejo’s RBI single and then taking the lead on Luke Leonard’s two-run double in the bottom of the eighth. Trey Horton earned his first career victory with four innings of relief, allowing just one run.

DH Elian Merejo had two three-run home runs and the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning in GSU’s 15-11 win over Coastal Carolina. Merejo’s seven RBI are one shy of the school record and the most by a Panther since Joey Roach had seven vs. Mercer in 2015.

Senior right fielder Brandon Bell is a dual threat, leading the team with a .321 batting average and four saves. The Preseason All-Sun Belt selection did not allow an earned run in his first seven appearances and recorded saves vs. Georgia Southwestern, Kennesaw State, Furman and Mercer.

Hunter Gaddis was named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week (March 18) after a combined shutout over Appalachian State. He pitched eight scoreless innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts while allowing just four hits, all singles, in the 2-0 win. The 6-6 right-hander earned the third Sun Belt weekly honor of his career.

Gaddis, the Preseason All-America and Preseason Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, ranks third in GSU history with 256 career strikeouts,10th with 14 career victories, sixth in games started (38) and eighth in innings pitched (250.0). That includes 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.

This season, Gaddis is second in the Sun Belt with 91 strikeouts. After fanning 98 last season, he has two of the top five single-season totals in GSU history. The school record is 115 by David Giancarlo in 1996.

Elian Merejo has two game-winning hits in GSU’s final at-bat. His two-out, two-run walk-off single in the 13th inning gave the Panthers a 6-5 victory over ETSU (March 8). At Charleston Southern, trailing by one in the top of the ninth, his two-run single lifted GSU to a 7-6 victory and series win.

The freshman trio of RHP Ryan Watson (6 wins, 1 save), RHP Joseph Brandon (1 win, 1 save) and LHP Seth Clark (2 wins) have combined for nine wins and two saves in 51 appearances. Two other freshmen -- infielder Chase Frady and outfielder-first baseman Josh Smith -- have combined to make 57 starts in the field.

Now in his 13th season as the Georgia State head coach, Greg Frady is the Panthers’ career victory leader with 369 in Atlanta as part of his 556 career wins in his 19th season.