The Eastern baseball team saw its hot start to the season diminish after being swept in a three-game series at Georgia State.
The Panthers put their five-game winning streak on the line, but that ended abruptly on the road with the toughest loss coming in extra innings in game three 6-5.
Georgia State got off to a head start with a two-run first against freshman Blake Malatestinic, who started things out on the mound for Eastern.
The Panthers finally hit their stride in the eighth inning, where they brought home four runs to notch a 5-4 lead after redshirt junior Hunter Morris sent out a grand slam to mark his second home run of the series.
Morris has torn it up at the plate to start this season, hitting .357 in 10 games with three home runs and 12 RBIs.
But the late-inning pitching fell through for Eastern, as Georgia State answered with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, which was followed by a game-winning RBI base hit in the 12th inning off senior Dustin Wilson to give Georgia State the three-game sweep.
Wilson fell to 1-1 on the season with the loss, and the rest of the series followed somewhat of a similar trend as relief pitching was a struggle the whole weekend for Eastern.
In game one, the Panthers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but that disappeared in a four-run sixth inning, handing sophomore Alex Stevenson the loss in that one.
Stevenson allowed four runs in 5.2 innings pitched, but he also struck out a season-high five batters at the plate.
He even scored a run while going 2-for-5 on the day.
The Panthers had some bright spots in the weekend offensively, despite not having a very high amount of runs scored.
Most of the runs that have been scored can be credited to senior Dougie Parks as he knocked in two more over the weekend to put him at eight for the season.
Parks did see his eight-game winning streak snapped though, with a 0-for-4 appearance in game three, but he still boasts a .293 batting average.
The rest of the team has also been pretty consistent offensively with five players hitting over .300, and another four with an average of at least .250
The Panthers now search for an end to their three-game losing streak, but they will have to do so against some tougher competition this week.
Eastern heads to Columbia, Mo. to face Missouri followed by another SEC opponent in Ole Miss as the two battle in a three-game series over the weekend.
The Panthers have just six more games before the start of conference play.
Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]