GEORGIA STATE (9-23) vs. MERCER (15-17)

Wednesday, April 10  |  6 p.m.  |  GSU Baseball Complex

 

COVERAGE:  PantherVision video stream on GeorgiaStateSports.com, GSU mobile app.

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

GSU Fr. LHP Seth Clark (2-1, 7.11) vs. MU RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (3-3, 6.75)

 

LEADING OFF

>Georgia State’s nine-game homestand continues as the Panthers host in-state rival Mercer Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the GSU Baseball Complex.

>New men’s basketball coach Rob Lanier will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial First Pitch.

>Mercer won the first meeting of the annual home-and-home 14-11 on March 5 in Macon, but Georgia State has won four of the last six and six of the last nine meetings with the Bears.

>Senior right fielder Brandon Bell is Georgia State’s leading hitter at .333. The Preseason All-Sun Belt selection also has three saves in six appearances on the mound, pitching 6.1 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and saves vs. Georgia Southwestern, Kennesaw State and Furman.

>Friday starter 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 222 career strikeouts,10th with 14 career victories and 10th in innings pitched (225.2). 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.

>Outfielder-turned pitcher-turned back to outfielder Rhett Harper batted for the first time in more than three years in last the March 27 win over Kennesaw State. He reached base in four of five plate appearances, including two singles and the go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning. Then he had a career-high four RBI on two doubles in win over Furman (April 3).

>Sophomore shortstop Griffin Cheney is third on the team with a .309 batting average. Cheney played sparingly as a freshman and did not have a hit last year. But this season, after entering the starting lineup in Game 3, he has reached base in every game but two.

>The Panthers clinched their series at Appalachian State with a 17-6 victory Sunday, fueled by an eight-run second inning. The 17 runs are the most that GSU has ever scored in a Sun Belt game.

>The Panthers are playing without first baseman Jake Corso, their top hitter and run producer, due to injury. Hitting .325, he led the team in RBI (17) and extra-base hits (11) when he was injured.

>Junior designated hitter Elian Merejo leads the team with four homers and has two game-winning hits in GSU’s final at-bat, mostly recently a two-out, two-run walk-off single in the 13th inning to give 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.

>Freshman left-hander Seth Clark will make his first start vs. Mercer. He leads the team 14 appearances, including victories against UIC and Furman. Clark is the sixth pitcher and third freshman hurler to make his first start for GSU this season.

>The freshman trio of RHP Ryan Watson (3 wins, 1 save), RHP Joseph Brandon (1 win, 1 save) and LHP Seth Clark (2 wins) have combined for six wins and two saves in 35 appearances. Three other freshmen -- infielders Chase Frady and Jackson Sisk and out outfielder Josh Smith -- have combined to make 40 starts in the field.

>Now in his 13th season as the Georgia State head coach, Greg Frady is the Panthers’ career victory leader with 364 in Atlanta as part of his 551 career wins in his 19th season.

 

THE SERIES vs. MERCER: Georgia State has won four of the last five in the series and six of the last eight against the Bears.

>Since head coach Greg Frady took over in 2007, GSU leads Mercer 12-9.

>The teams met March 5 at Mercer, and the Bears won 14-11.  GSU fell behind 9-2 but closed the gap with eight runs over the final four innings. Elian Merejo homered, and Daino Deas had three hits and three RBI.

>Georgia State won 4-2 in the last meeting in Atlanta, played April 18, 2018. Jack Thompson hit two-run homer and Will Kilgore added a solo shot. Five Panther pitchers held the Bears to six hits with 10 strikeouts.

>Mercer leads the overall series, which began in 1967, 68-50, but since Georgia State reinstated its program in 1992, the Panthers lead 39-37, including a 35-27 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.