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Previewing Georgia State baseball in the Sun Belt tournament

Georgia State has one of the most prolific offenses in the Sun Belt. (Georgia State, courtesy of Randy Wilson photography)

Georgia State’s offense is struggling the last month of the season. (Georgia State, courtesy of Randy Wilson photography)

Previewing Georgia State in the Sun Belt tournament in Troy, Ala.:

Seed: Georgia State is the fifth seed after going 29-25 overall, 15-13 in the conference.

Format: Double-elimination.

Opener: vs. Georgia Southern, 10 a.m. Wednesday. Nathan Bates (5-3, 4.25 ERA) will take the mound for the Panthers.

Previous matchups: Georgia Southern took the regular-season series, 2-1.

Radio: 1340 AM. Airtime 9:45 a.m. Games following will air on 1340 AM as well. Game times TBD.

About Georgia State: The Panthers were in first place in the conference as of April 24, when they started a three-game series against South Alabama. The Panthers were swept in that series and have a record of 3-10 in their last 13 games.

The slide coincided with an injury to leading hitter Ryan Blanton, who won’t return.

The offense has scored more than three runs just once in those 10 losses, and hasn’t scored less than six in the three wins.

“That’s been our biggest problem,” manager Greg Frady said.

Georgia State’s pitching has performed well, not giving up more than four runs in any of the past five losses.

“What we have done is pitch outstanding and play good defense,” Frady said. “That has given us a chance to win.

“When we’ve strung some hits together we’ve won.”

Freshman first baseman Jack Thompson has raised his average to .276 by batting. 286 in the past 10 games with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Freshman catcher/outfielder Trae Sweeting is hitting a .324 in the past 10 games and freshman shortstop Justin Jones is batting a team-best .359 over the same span with a .980 fielding percentage.

But the offense will continue to ride Joey Roach and Matt Rose.

Roach is hitting well, batting .289 in the past 10 games but with only three RBIs.

Rose is in a horrible slump, hitting just .220 with one home run and four RBIs.

Frady says: “The head coach needs to step up. I need to do a good job of making sure I have right people in right places. We have to do everything we can to get some runs home and get our pitching and defense a chance.”

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