GEORGIA STATE (10-23, 2-10) vs. TROY (17-16, 5-7)

 

April 12-14 at the GSU Baseball Complex

Friday, 6 p.m. (PantherVision video)

Saturday, 2 p.m. (PantherVision audio)

Sunday, 1 p.m. (PantherVision audio)

 

COVERAGE:  PantherVision video stream on Friday, audio on Saturday and Sunday. Available on GeorgiaStateSports.com and GSU mobile app.

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Friday:       GSU Jr. RHP Hunter Gaddis (1-4, 6.12) vs.  Troy RHP Cory Gill (3-1, 4.26)

Saturday:   GSU Jr. LHP Tyler Koch (0-3, 7.48)  vs.  Troy RHP Levi Thomas (3-2, 5.50)

Sunday:     GSU So. RHP Trey Horton (0-2, 4.06) vs. TBA

 

LEADING OFF

>Coming off a win over Mercer, Georgia State hosts Troy for a Sun Belt Conference series that opens Friday at 6 p.m.

>In the 4-2 win over Mercer, center fielder Luke Leonard had two hits and two RBI. All four GSU runs scored on one play as Leonard delivered a bases-loaded, 2-run single and the other two runs scored as a result of two throwing errors on the play. Freshman Ryan Watson earned his team-leading fourth victory with four scoreless innings in relief.

>Head coach Greg Frady is a 1987 graduate of Troy. He played on the Trojans’  1986 NCAA Division II national championship team, when he was a teammate of Troy head coach Mark Smartt.

>Senior right fielder Brandon Bell is a dual threat, hitting .323 while leading the team with four saves. The Preseason All-Sun Belt selection has not allowed an earned run in seven appearances and earned saves vs. Georgia Southwestern, Kennesaw State, Furman and Mercer.

>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.

>The freshman trio of RHP Ryan Watson (4 wins, 1 save), RHP Joseph Brandon (1 win, 1 save) and LHP Seth Clark (2 wins) have combined for seven wins and two saves in 38 appearances. Three other freshmen -- infielders Chase Frady and Jackson Sisk and outfielder-first baseman Josh Smith -- have combined to make 41 starts in the field.

>Now in his 13th season as the Georgia State head coach, Greg Frady is the Panthers’ career victory leader with 365 in Atlanta as part of his 552 career wins in his 19th season.

 

THE SERIES vs. TROY: In last year’s series at Troy, the Trojans won 14-4 in Game 1 and 8-3 in Game 3, but Georgia State took the middle game 5-2, scoring three runs in the ninth for the victory.

>The Panthers won two out of three in Atlanta in 2017, winning 9-3 and 3-2 (12 innings) before falling 5-3 on Sunday.

>In his previous two starts vs. Troy, Hunter Gaddis has pitched 15.1 innings and allowed just three earned runs with 15 strikeouts but has not been able to earn a victory.

>The 2014 series in Georgia State’s first year in the Sun Belt was the first between GSU and Troy since 2005, when both were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The two schools played annually as members of the TAAC/ASun from 1999-2005. Troy leads the overall series 34-12, including 10-5 in the Sun Belt era.