The Sports Inquirer spoke with Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott following his team’s practice on Sept. 18 for an exclusive interview. Topics included the team rebounding from its’ 57-10 road defeat to Western Michigan on Sept. 14, the Panthers’ defensive struggles in the contest particularly against the run, staying consistent through wins and losses as well as the team’s upcoming road contest against Texas State on Sept. 21 in the Sun Belt Conference opener.
The Sports Inquirer attended the Sun Belt Media Day presser of Texas State football head coach Everett Withers in New Orleans on July 24. Topics included thoughts on the team, expectations for the upcoming season and a breakdown of the roster.
Release from Georgia State Athletics:
Behind four home runs by Ivie Drake, Georgia State improved to 18-2 overall and 5-0 in Sun Belt play with two wins on the road at Texas State on Saturday, March 14. GSU extends its record winning streak to 15 straight games.
“Today was a great day to be a Panther!” head coach Roger Kincaid said after the doubleheader sweep.
Drake finished the doubleheader with four home runs in five at-bats while driving in eight. She also drew three walks and scored five times. In Game 2, Drake hit a grand slam after Kensey Caldwell and Lauren Coleman both homer to complete the GSU comeback.
Drake blasted a Georgia State single-game record three home runs and Thorpe picked up her 10th win of the season as GSU defeated Texas State 5-2.
Drake homer in all three of her at-bats and finished with four RBI to lead the Panthers at the plate. Thorpe scattered 7 hits over seven innings and improved to 10-0 with the victory. The win pushed GSU’s record winning streak to 14 straight games.
“I have been around some really good hitters but I don’t believe I have ever had a player see the ball that well in one game,” Kincaid said about Drake’s performance. “Ivie made three great swings and all three went over the fence. Her production has been unreal and we know she is only going to get better.”
Georgia State jumped in front early with three runs in the top of the first. Taylor Anderson walked and then scored on Callie Alford’s single. Drake then launched a two-run bomb to left to put GSU ahead 3-0.
Texas State got on the board with a single run in the bottom of the third to make it a 3-1 game. Drake then hit solo home runs in the top of the fourth and the sixth to establish a new single-game program record.
The Bobcats pulled one back with a home run in the seventh before Thorpe recorded the final two outs to complete the shutout and clinch the win.
Three-run homers by Caldwell and Coleman in the sixth and seventh innings help Georgia State erase a 4-0 deficit and come from behind to defeat Texas State 13-4. The victory kept GSU’s winning streak alive at 15 in a row.
“This team knows they are never out of a game,” Kincaid said about the dramatic comeback in Game 2. “Our pitchers kept us in it by fighting and scrapping until we generated some offense. We know that anyone in the lineup can step up at any time. Today it was Kensey. She was seeing the ball really well in Game 1 and it was only a matter of time before something good happened.”
Texas State scored three in the first and one in the third to take a 4-0 lead after three. The Bobcats held that lead until the top of the sixth when GSU scored four runs. Drake led off the inning with a walk and scored on Alford’s double to put the Panthers on the board.
Megan Litumbe then singled before Caldwell hit a three run homer, her first of the season, to tie the game at four. GSU then scored nine runs in the seventh to complete the comeback en route to the win. Drake and Alford started the rally with one-out walks. Coleman then blasted a home run to left to put the Panthers ahead 7-4.
“I have been coaching a long time and Lauren’s at-bat in the bottom of the seventh was one of the most clutch at-bats I have ever seen,” Kincaid said about his senior first baseman. “She was determined to make something happen which what she has done during her entire career.”
Three-straight singles loaded the bases before Morgan Brown walked to drive in Litumbe and Anderson then singled to plate Caldwell. Drake then cleared the bases with a grand slam to complete the rally.
“After her performance in Game 1, I am sure Texas State did not want to pitch to Ivie,” Kincaid said. “However, in that situation with the bases loaded they had to. She hit it out to slam the door.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Chelsea Stanfield escape a bases-loaded jam to end the game and secure the win. The victory was Stanfield’s fourth of 2015 as she improves to 4-2 this season.