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Jonesboro, Ark. — Arkansas State scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 4-2 win over Georgia State Saturday at Tomlinson Field, spoiling another outstanding start by freshman Hunter Gaddis.
Gaddis (3-3), the 6-5 right-hander allowed just one earned run on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks in 8.1 innings, but the Panthers (11-19, 1-10 Sun Belt) suffered their ninth straight loss.
Georgia State entered the bottom of the eighth with a 2-1 lead when Grant Hawkins led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice and came home on an error to tie game at 2-2. Then the Red Wolves (17-14, 6-5 Sun Belt) got a triple from Justin Felix and a double from Jeremy Brown, both balls landing just inside the line in right field, to take a 4-2 lead.
“Hunter Gaddis was fantastic tonight,” head coach Greg Frady said. “He threw his heart out, and it was really awesome to watch. Hunter has put us in position to win every time he has pitched this season, with the exception of one start, and I just want to say that he did a great job.
“We are going through a difficult time right now. I don’t think anyone in our organization is accepting the way we are playing right now. But tomorrow is a new day and we’ll get on the bus and go over there to play the type of baseball that represents us and helps us find a way to victory.”
The Panthers scored both of their runs in the fifth inning. In a scoreless game, Payton Mann led off with a 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a double to the left center. He moved to third on Jarrett Hood’s groundout and then came home on a third-strike wild pitch that put Romero Greer at first. Greer then stole second before two more wild pitches brought him home to put GSU ahead 2-0.
Georgia State also had a chance to score in the fourth. With Nick Gatewood at second, Darius Sewell drove a ball deep to center field that appeared as if it would get over the center fielder’s head, but Garrett Rucker made an outstanding, over-the-shoulder diving catch.
Arkansas State got on the board against Gaddis with an unearned run in the sixth.
ASU starter Peyton Culbertson (3-3) pitched eight innings, allowing just three hits and two runs while striking out 11. Tyler Zuber pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save.
The series concludes with a 2 p.m. ET game Sunday.