GEORGIA STATE (13-32, 4-17) at TEXAS STATE (31-14, 15-6)
Bobcat Ballpark | San Marcos, Texas
Saturday DH: Game 1, 1 p.m. ET, Game 2 to follow
Sunday: 1 p.m. ET
COVERAGE: Video streaming on TxStBobcats.com (subscription required).
Friday: GSU Jr. RHP Hunter Gaddis (1-5, 5.78) vs. TXST RHP Nicholas Fraze (6-3, 4.75)
Saturday: GSU TBA vs. TXST RHP Hunter McMahon (5-4, 4.46)
Sunday: GSU TBA vs. TXST RHP Connor Reich (6-1, 3.45)
>Georgia State travels to Sun Belt Conference leader Texas State this weekend, beginning a stretch of seven out of eight games on the road.
>The Panthers are coming off an 15-11 come-from-behind victory over Coastal Carolina. Trailing 10-5 after five innings, GSU outscored the Chanticleers 10-1, tying 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.
>Texas State had a 10-game winning streak snapped with a midweek loss to UTSA.
>Junior designated hitter Elian Merejo had two three-run home runs and the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning in the 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 center fielder Luke Leonard was 11-for-22 with two homers and six RBI in five games last week. He hit a two-run homer at Furman, and then he led off the bottom of the ninth with a game-tying home run in Game 2 vs. Coastal Carolina. In Sunday’s 15-11 come-from-behind win over the Chanticleers, Leonard was 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs, including a two-run double in the eighth inning to put the Panthers ahead.
>Georgia State has one player from the state of Texas. Starting catcher Dalton Davies is from Fort Worth and attended Timber Creek High School and then North Central Texas College.
>Senior right fielder Brandon Bell is a dual threat, leading the team with a .329 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.
>Sophomore shortstop Griffin Cheney is hitting .313 after playing only sparingly as a freshman, when he did not have a hit. This season, he has reached base in 40 of his 43 games started.
>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 247 career strikeouts,10th with 14 career victories, sixth in games started (37) and eighth in innings pitched (242.2). 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.
>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 Panthers have been 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 March 19.
>The freshman trio of RHP Ryan Watson (5 wins, 1 save), RHP Joseph Brandon (1 win, 1 save) and LHP Seth Clark (2 wins) have combined for eight wins and two saves in 48 appearances. Two other freshmen -- infielder Chase Frady and outfielder-first baseman Josh Smith -- have combined to make 55 starts in the field.
>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.
>Now in his 13th season as the Georgia State head coach, Greg Frady is the Panthers’ career victory leader with 367 in Atlanta as part of his 554 career wins in his 19th season.
SERIES WITH TEXAS STATE: Texas State holds an 11-4 lead in the series after sweeping three games last season in Atlanta, but Georgia State has won three of the last four games played at Bobcat Ballpark.
>The Panthers captured the 2017 series at Texas State last, winning 11-7 on Friday and 11-8 on Sunday. The Bobcats won the middle game 10-9 on a walk-off. GSU scored 31 runs on 35 hits in that series.
>The 2016 series was also played at Texas State, and Georgia State won the Sunday game 11-10 in 11 innings.