ATLANTA -- Luke Leonard had two hits and two runs batted in and four Georgia State pitchers allowed just two runs on six hits as the Panthers downed in-state rival Mercer 4-2 Wednesday at the GSU Baseball Complex.
All four GSU (10-23) runs scored on one crazy play in the fourth inning. With the Panthers trailing 2-0, Brandon Bell reached on an error, Elian Merejo was hit by a pitch and Rhett Harper walked to load the bases with one out. That brought Leonard to the plate, who smacked the 3-2 pitch into left field to score two runs and tie the game. But the left fielder's throw to the plate was wild, allowing Leonard and Harper to move up to second and third. The pitcher was backing up the plate, and he picked up the errant throw and tried to throw to third to cut down Harper, but his throw sailed into left field, allowing both runs to score to put GSU up 4-2.
That was all the scoring the Panther would need. The freshman trio of left-hander Seth Clark and righties Ryan Watson and Joseph Brandon combined for the first eight innings, and then Brandon Bell moved from right field to the mound for the ninth, striking out two to earn his team-leading fourth save.
Watson (4-3) came on in the fourth and tossed four scoreless innings in which he allowed just one hit to earn the win, his fourth, to lead the Panthers. Brandon retired the Bears in the eighth before handing it off to Bell.
Mercer (15-18) managed six hits in the game, but after a leadoff single in the fourth, the Bears had only one hit and three baserunners the rest of the way.
Freshman Josh Smith had a single and a double for the Panthers.
Georgia State continues its homestand by hosting Sun Belt Conference foe Troy for a weekend series that opens Friday at 6 p.m.