ATLANTA -- Griffin Cheney hit his first career home run and drove in three runs to lead Georgia State (11-25, 3-11 Sun Belt) to a 12-5 victory over Troy and a doubleheader split Saturday at the GSU Baseball Complex. Troy (19-17, 7-8) came to win Game 2 of the doubleheader, 10-5, to clinch the series.
Game 1: Georgia State 12, Troy 5
Griffin Cheney's first career home run keyed an eight-run sixth inning and Ryan Watson pitched five strong innings in relief to to lead Georgia State to a 12-5 victory over Troy in the first game of a doubleheader.
Watson (5-3), the freshman right-hander from North Gwinnett High School, allowed just two runs over five innings to finish the game and earn his team-leading fifth victory and second this week.
With the game tied at 4-all, the Panthers took control with eight runs in the sixth. Dalton Davies led off with a walk and scored on Daino Deas' double. Then Cheney smacked his two-run homer to left field to make it 7-4.
After Brandon Bell walked, Elian Merejo drove him in with a double. Two more walks loaded the bases with one out, and then Josh Smith delivered a run-scoring single. With two outs, Deas stroked a two-run single and then Cheney drove in his third run of the inning by dropping a single into shallow right field to give GSU a 12-4 lead.
Georgia State fell behind 3-0 early in the game before scoring four runs in the fourth. Bell led off with a walk, and Merejo followed with a single to put runners at first and third. Bell scored on a fielder's choice by Chase Frady for the Panthers' first run. After Rhett Harper walked, Luke Leonard doubled to left to bring home two and tie the game at 3-3. Dalton Davies singled through the right side to score Leonard and put GSU ahead 4-3.
Game 2: Troy 10, Georgia State 5
Georgia State continued its hot hitting in Game 2, scoring five runs in the first inning, but the could not hold the lead as Troy won 10-5. The Trojans scored three in the third inning, and then took the lead with six runs in the fourth.
The Panthers jumped in front as Daino Deas led off with a single, Griffin Cheney reached on a bunt single and Brandon Bell singled to load the bases. Elian Merejo brought home the first run with a single, and then Rhett Harper delivered a two-run single for a 3-0 lead. That chased Troy starter Taylor Pridgen as Sadler Goodwin came on to pitch. Georgia State added two more runs on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Glass and an RBI-single by Dalton Davies to extend the lead to 5-0.
But after that Goodwin (3-4) settled in and pitched five innings, allowing just one run on five hits with eight strikeouts. Rush Hixson held GSU scoreless over the final 3.2 innings to earn his fourth save, striking out seven.
Goodwin, also the Troy designated hitter, had three hits and four RBI at the plate.
After falling behind 9-5, the Panthers had chances to cut into their deficit. GSU had runners at second and third with no outs in the fifth and then left the bases loaded in the sixth. Georgia State had 12 hits in the game, including two each by Deas, Bell, Harper, and Josh Smith, but left 13 on base.