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Panthers’ football announces start times for contests

Four Georgia State Saturday home football games at the Georgia Dome will kick off at 2 p.m. ET, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

As previously announced, the Panthers will play the first FBS game of the 2014 season when Georgia State hosts Abilene Christian on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

Following the season opener, the Sept. 6 Sun Belt Conference opener against league newcomer New Mexico State; the Sept. 13 date with Air Force, the first non-conference FBS opponent to visit the Georgia Dome; the Oct. 11 Homecoming game against Sun Belt co-champion Arkansas State; and the Nov. 29 season finale against Texas State will all kick off at 2 p.m.

Still to be determined is the kickoff time for the highly-anticipated first meeting with in-state foe Georgia Southern, which joins the Sun Belt this year. That game is scheduled for Oct. 25 at the Georgia Dome.

Also announced Tuesday by the Sun Belt Conference, Georgia State’s home games against New Mexico State and Air Force will air on ESPN3, meaning the Panthers’ first three games of 2014 will be available across the nation on ESPN platforms.

Wilson, Raffield Selected in MLB Draft

Georgia State All-Americans Nic Wilson and Chase Raffield were selected Saturday in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Wilson, the Panthers’ senior first baseman from Decatur, Ga., was drafted in the 24th round by the Tampa Bay Rays, while Raffield, the senior outfielder from Cochran, Ga., went in the 37th round to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wilson earned second-team All-America honors from Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball, along with first-team All-Sun Belt Conference accolades.

He ranks fourth in the nation with 18 homers and also stands among the national leaders with 20 doubles, 52 RBI and 50 run scored. He hit .322 with a .683 slugging percentage and a .423 on-base percentage.

Named National Player of the Week twice during the season, Wilson tied the GSU and Sun Belt single-game records with three homers against South Alabama. His season total is third-best in Panther annals, three behind the GSU record, while his two-year career total of 26 homers is tied for eighth in school history.

Raffield was a third-team All-America by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball, earning All-America recognition for the second straight year. He is the first two-time All-American in GSU baseball history and just the third for Georgia State in any sport, joining golfer Joel Sjoholm (2007-08) and tennis star Abigail Tere-Apisah (2012 and 2014).

The left-handed hitter posted a .356 average with 14 home runs (seventh in NCAA) and 59 RBI. He ranked in the top five in the Sun Belt in batting average, slugging percentage (.654), on-base percentage (.442), homers, doubles and RBIs.

Raffield finished his career as perhaps the top all-around hitter in school history with a career batting average of .368 (second in school history) and GSU records for slugging percentage (.650), OPS (1.099) and RBI per game (1.02).

This marks the first time Georgia State has had multiple players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft since 2007.