Panthers grab big wins over Bradley and Minnesota in season-opener Atlanta Challenge.


Panthers grab big wins over Bradley and Minnesota in season-opener Atlanta Challenge.

Georgia State baseball played in the Atlanta Challenge and finished the weekend with a 2-1 record. With wins over Bradley on Friday and Minnesota on Sunday, the Panthers will travel to Alabama on Tuesday to face the Auburn Tigers.

Before the season-opener, head coach Greg Frady, who is his in his 12th season as the Panthers’ skipper, was ecstatic for his team to take the field for the first time, especially since they had an underachieving season last year.

“I think excitement is the word I would use,” said head coach Greg Frady as he embarks on his 12th season at the helm. “Everyone has lifted the weights and run the sprints and spent the time in the cages and the bullpen, and now we’re all ready to play baseball.”

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to open our season at home against three different teams in the Atlanta Challenge. I’m excited and ready to go, and our team is too.”

The first team on the schedule for the Panthers was Bradley. Sophomore pitcher Hunter Gaddis is the ace for the Panthers this year after an outstanding freshman season and an appearance on the U.S national collegiate team. He showed much of the same dominance that he possessed last year on the mound against Bradley, pitching six scoreless innings, seven hits and four strikeouts.

Gaddis pitched with much velocity, being that he enjoys rocketing fastballs by opposing batters, but the Panthers got an unexpected lift from freshman designated hitter Ryan Glass. Glass, at 6-4 and 220 pounds, showed he has the power to play at the collegiate level after hitting a homerun in his first plate appearance in the first inning with two outs and Nick Gatewood at first base. His home run gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead, which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in the Panthers securing their first win of the season.

“The adrenaline was flowing as I stepped into the box. As soon as I hit it, I was thinking, OK I got it,” Glass said.

The Panthers had little time to celebrate their first win with Connecticut visiting the Georgia State Complex the next day. In fact, the Panthers lost miserably to the Huskies 10-1. Jake Rogers took the mound for the Panthers and held his own through five innings, where the score was tied 1-1, but UConn’s starting pitcher Mason Feole had a better outing.

“I thought Jake really battled really hard,” Frady said. “Any time your starter pitches you into the sixth inning, you feel pretty good about that, and I think he gave us a good start, but we weren’t on point offensively or defensively. We didn’t hit enough, we didn’t play enough defense and we didn’t pitch enough to beat a team like UConn.”

The Panthers lone run came off a RBI double in the bottom of the fifth inning by Kendall Ford. Moreover, the Panthers struggled to challenge Feole and allowed him to torch their lineup through seven innings.

“Give that starter on the other team a lot of credit,” Frady said. “He’s a very good pitcher who’s getting a lot of professional interest.”

The only bright spots offensively for the Panthers were Ford and Glass. Georgia State finished the game with just three hits.

However, they were able to finish the weekend on a good note by pouncing on the Minnesota Gophers. With nine hits and runs, the Panthers ousted the Gophers 9-6, and Jordan Lee earned his first win of the season. Lee pitched five innings, and Brandon Baker and Jansen Acton prevented the Gophers from mounting a comeback.

Although Minnesota developed an early two-run lead in the first inning, the Panthers also had an efficient first inning and scored five runs in the bottom of the frame. Minnesota’s pitcher, Sam Thoresen, struggled to find the strike zone and allowed the first four batters for the Panthers to reach base without much effort.

The Panthers then had a scoring drought — that is, until the sixth inning. Will Kilgore led off with a single, and Romero Greer and Luke Leonard both were successful on bunt attempts that loaded the bases for the Panthers. Enrique Ferrer then singled a line drive between second base and shortstop that drove in two runs and extended their lead. As if that wasn’t a gift for the Panthers, they scored another run off an errant throw to give them an 8-3 lead.

The Panthers eventually won their second game of the season with the final score being 9-6.

Frady’s team will look to extend their winning streak to two games on Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST against the Auburn Tigers.

This is part of a collection of new Feature Articles online. Read last week’s Feature Article, A Condomless Health Center.