Georgia State's late rally came up just short as the Panthers fell to Butler, 10-8, in Sunday's series finale at the GSU Baseball Complex.
The Panthers (2-1) entered the ninth inning down 10-6 and brought the tying run to the plate, but Butler (1-2) reliever Chase Byerly closed the door.
Georgia State pounded out 13 hits on the day but stranded 15 runners on base, leaving the bases loaded three times.
Junior Nic Wilson collected three hits and drove in two for the Panthers, and freshman Matt Rose added two hits and two RBIs.
Sophomore Jerry Stuckey pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief of starter Aidan McLaughlin, allowing just two runs on four hits to give the Panthers a chance to come back. He allowed a two-run homer to Lucas Calderon in the fourth inning and then shut down the Bulldogs the rest of the way.
"Jerry did a heck of a job," said GSU head coach Greg Frady. "The only way we were even going to have a chance to make it a game was for him to put the zeros that he did."
Trailing 10-2, the Panthers pushed across single runs in the fourth and fifth innings as Josh Merrigan drew a bases-loaded walk and Scott Sarratt drove in a run with a bases-loaded infield single.
The Panthers pulled closer with two runs in the sixth. After GSU loaded the bases on singles by Merrigan and pinch hitter Mark Hogan and a walk by Drew Shields, Matt Rose drew a bases-loaded walk to score one, and then Nic Wilson drove in another run when he was hit by a pitch.
The Panthers looked like they might get more, but the inning ended on a double play. Caden Bailey's ground ball forced Wilson at second, and the umpire ruled that Wilson interfered with the fielder, resulting in the inning-ending, twin killing.
With the Panthers down 10-6, Merrigan led off the ninth inning with a single. After Drew Shields drew a one-out walk, Rose delivered a run-scoring single to the opposite field to score Merrigan. Another run came home on a fielder's choice by Chase Raffield, bringing Wilson to the plate as the tying run with two outs, but Byerly got the strikeout to end the threat.
Butler starter Kevin Lenkman went 4 2/3 innings and did not figure in the decision, allowing four runs on six hits. Kyle Kramp (1-0) earned the victory with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before Byerly pitched the final two innings.
McLaughlin (0-1) took the loss for GSU.
Georgia State travels across town to play at nationally-ranked Georgia Tech Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Thursday GSU will host Alabama A&M at 4 p.m. at the GSU Baseball Complex.
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