DECATUR — Georgia Southern didn't score its first run until the ninth inning, but took a 4-3 win over Georgia State in 10 innings on Thursday night to open the weekend series.
The first eight innings were a pitcher’s duel between Georgia Southern’s Seth Shuman and Georgia State’s Hunter Gaddis. Ultimately the Panthers squandered a three run lead in the ninth as the Eagles took the win to remain top of the East Division. Game two between the Eagles and Panthers is set for Friday at 6 p.m.
The starters for both teams were outstanding on Thursday night. Shuman struck out seven batters over seven innings and conceded two runs off five hits. State’s Gaddis went eight and two thirds, but could not get the 27th out. He was charged with all three runs in the ninth to take the no decision. Shuman’s seven Ks moved him into 10th place on the Georgia Southern career strikeouts list, tied with Tod Lee on 248 career Ks.
Georgia State blew the game open with a two run home run in the seventh inning and tacked on an insurance run in the eighth to push the lead to 3-0 entering the ninth inning.
Mason McWhorter opened the ninth inning with a leadoff double, scoring with two outs in the inning off Jason Swan’s RBI single to left that nearly cleared the fence. Austin Thompson gave the Eagles first and third when he slapped a flare over the first baseman for a single. After a pitching change to lift Gaddis, the reliever uncorked a wild pitch to score Swan from third. A walk to pinch hitter Noah Searcy put runners on first and second. Back-to-back wilt pitches tied the game with the second coming as Christan Avant struck out swinging and reached on the wild pitch.
Hayden Harris gave up a single in the ninth, but was able to pick off the runner for the final out to send the game to extra innings.
In the 10th inning the Eagles got a one out walk from Steven Curry and moved the junior around with a wild pitch and a throwing error on the same play. Mason McWhorter’s sacrifice fly drove in Curry from third as the Eagles took the win.
Harris improved to 3-0 on the year by closing out the final two frames. He got the final six outs to improve the Eagles to 31-22 on the year and 17-10 in league play. The magic number for the Eagles to win the East Division is reduced to one over South Alabama who is in control against Troy.
Game two of the weekend series is set for Friday night at 6 p.m. Joe Nahas will get the ball for the Eagles at the Georgia State Baseball Complex. Coverage is available on the Georgia Southern Sports Network and PantherVision.