Panther Baseball looks for a fresh start in 2021

Coach Dale Zanine talks about the future of the Georgia State Baseball team. Photo Submitted by Dale Zanine

Georgia State comes into the 2021 season with a new lease on life. Head coach Brad Stromdahl is excited for the challenge to play in the Sun Belt for a full season.

“The Sun Belt is a tremendous conference that really tests you every weekend, and our non-conference slate offers great competition as well,” Stromdahl said.

The Panthers were an optimistic 9-7 before the coronavirus ended their run of playing improved baseball.

The team had a tremendous offensive lead by recent graduate Elian Merejo and senior Daino Dias. For the first time since Georgia State was in the Colonial Athletic Association, there was some life in the program.

Stromdahl replaced former longtime manager Greg Fray in 2019; it came as a breath of fresh air for the program. He began his regime on the right foot when the Panthers walked off the Cincinnati Bearcats in their home opener this season.

The new coach is looking to build off of each day. Stromdahl’s goal is to create something special for the program, a trait long overdue.

One major thing that Stromdahl has taken from the shortened season is his opportunity to build a new culture at Georgia State. When he was the head coach at Gwinnett, he had the opportunity to build culture, and that’s the same attitude he’s taking into the new season.

“It was really great to have an opportunity to learn to build,” Stromdahl said. “Now, I’ll take what I learned there and apply it to the Georgia State program on a fundamental level.”

Stromdahl has already started to lay the groundwork for his touch on the program with impressive recruiting and transfers. The Panthers recently landed standout junior college pitcher Dawson Sweatt, a quality left-handed pitcher. The program has loaded up on pitchers in its recruitment and looks to develop a strong foundation as pitching wins championships.

Getting such a talented pitcher is a significant step for the program. Georgia State baseball has struggled to get quality transfers and recruits, but Stromdahl looks to change that perception. With the new baseball stadium’s future construction, the program’s prestige will be more elevated for prospective recruits.

As Stromdahl proceeds to use his experience from his playing and coaching days, Georgia State baseball is on the rise. Under his guidance, there will be a new collegiate baseball power in the state sooner rather than later.