ATLANTA, Ga. – Behind Cooper Weiss’ career-high six RBIs, the Chanticleers scored three runs in the second, fourth, and eighth innings to outscore the Georgia State Panthers 12-10 in the series finale on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga. The series win is the first Sun Belt Conference series victory for the Chants this year, who moved to 5-0 on the year when scoring 10 runs or more in a game.
The two teams combined for 14 two-out runs in the game with Coastal plating eight and the Panthers scoring seven. Weiss (2-for-3, 3B, BB, SAC, 6 RBIs, 2 runs) led the Chants’ offense with six RBIs, five of which came with two outs.
For the Panthers offensively, three different players had two hits each led by Dalton Preston (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 5 RBIs, run) with a team-high five RBIs.
Fellow right-handed hitters Will Mize (2-for-5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 runs) and Elian Merejo (2-for-4, BB, 2 runs) each had two hits and scored two runs in the loss.
Freshman hurler Matt Joyce (1-0) would pick up his first career win, as the righty was the fourth pitcher for the Chants. He allowed just one hit and struck out two in the seventh inning. Veteran righty Shaddon Peavyhouse (1) picked up his first save of the season and the third of his career with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The loss fell to GSU reliever Dawson Sweatt (2-2), as the lefty gave up three runs on four hits, three walks, a wild pitch, and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings on the mound.
Coastal picked up where it left off yesterday, as Underwood reached base to start the game on a catcher’s interference call. Following a sacrifice bunt by Nick Lucky, a walk to Thomas, and an error on a Parker Chavers’ ground ball, Gattinelli hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to score Underwood from third to put the visitors on top 1-0 after just one at-bat.
The Chants continued to take advantage of what the Panthers gave them and use small-ball in the second inning, as a lead-off walk to Eric Brown followed by a single to center field from Beach put runners on first and third with no outs.
Weiss then laid down a safety squeeze bunt that not only scored Brown from third but allowed him to reach first safely on the fielder’s choice attempt at the plate to put runners on first and second with no outs. Following another sacrifice bunt, this time from Underwood, which put runners on second and third with one out, Lucky just missed hitting a home run to right field but settled for the sacrifice fly to move both runners up 90 feet.
Thomas then capped the scoring with a two-out single through the left side to plate Weiss and extend the Chanticleers’ lead to 4-0 midway through the second inning of play. While Coastal was using small-ball, the Panthers used the long ball to cut the Chants’ lead to one at 4-3 on a three-run home run to left field off the bat of Pearson in the bottom of the second inning.
The Chants continued its scoring ways in the top of the third with back-to-back two-out walks and a two-out double down the left-field line from Underwood to double up the Panthers at 6-3 midway through the third.
However, the lead did not last long as the Panthers used a five-run frame which consisted of five unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning to pull out in front for the first time on the day at 8-6.
Mize got the big inning going for the home team with a double to the left-field gap to score one. After a walk and strikeout loaded the bases with two outs, a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitched allowed two more runners to score and tie the game up at 6-6.
Preston struck again, as he laced a two-out double down the left-field line to drive in two more Panthers and give the home team its 8-6 lead. Refusing to back down, the Chants answered with a three-spot of their own in the top of the fourth with the help of a fielding error by the Panthers’ third baseman, a walk, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly from Gattinelli to put Coastal within one at 8-7.
After a strikeout, an intentional walk, a stolen base, and another walk loaded the bases, Weiss hit a two-out line drive to right field to score two more Chants who retook the lead at 9-8. The scoring fest continued with the Panthers plating one run on a single, walk, and back-to-back wild pitches in the bottom of the fourth with the latter allowing the lead-runner to score from 90-feet away to tie the game up at 9-9 just four innings into the game.
The bullpens settled in to keep the two teams off the scoreboard over the next three innings until a hit batter, single, wild pitch, and walk loaded the bases for Weiss who lined a 3-2 pitch into the left-center field gap that went all the way to the wall for a bases-clearing triple to put Coastal in front at 12-9 midway through the eighth.
GSU would get one run back in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out solo home run from Cheney to cut the Coastal lead to two at 12-10 with just the ninth inning to play. Peavyhouse would send the Panthers down in order 1-2-3 in the ninth to hang on for the conference win.