4 reasons why Georgia State baseball is atop Sun Belt

Matt Rose is one of the most complete hitters in the Sun Belt. (Georgia State, courtesy of Randy Wilson)

Matt Rose is one of the most complete hitters in the Sun Belt. (Georgia State, courtesy of Randy Wilson)

Four reasons why Georgia State baseball (17-13, 6-2) leads the Sun Belt with a three-game series against Arkansas-Little Rock upcoming this weekend in Panthersville:

 

The Big Four

Matt Rose, Joey Roach, Ryan Blanton and Caden Bailey are leading the Panthers.

  • Rose is tied for fourth in Division I with eight homers;
  • Roach leads the Sun Belt in RBI (28);
  • Blanton leads the Sun Belt in hits (46) and runs scored (33). He is batting .377, almost 140 points higher than as a freshman;
  • Bailey is Sun Belt active career leader in hits;

Defense

Georgia State was one of the worst defensive teams in the Sun Belt last year with a fielding percentage of .954. (Opponents were .969).

This year, the Panthers are in the middle of the pack with a .964 fielding percentage, but more plays are turning into more outs, giving the opponents fewer at-bats.

They have turned 30 double plays, the most in the conference.

The team was 11-17 when committing at least two errors this year. It’s 8-6 this year.

The freshmen

Justin Jones has started at shortstop from the opener, giving the defense a dependable anchor in the infield. He’s not bad with the stick either, hitting .278.

Outfielders Will Johnson and Rhett Harper and first baseman Jack Thompson are playing about half the time and contributing. Johnson, who attended North Atlanta High, is batting .207 but has nine RBIs in 58 at-bats with 10 walks. Harper, a native of Chatsworth, is batting .238 with four RBIs in 42 at-bats. Thompson, who attended Milton, is batting .217 with 7 RBIs in 46 at-bats with 11 walks. Combined they have made just three errors.

Road warriors

After winning just three games on the road in conference all of last season, the Panthers are 5-0 on the road this year with a sweep at Texas-Arlington, at Arkansas State.


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