What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State led early and rallied late but suffered its first loss of the season, 9-8 at Jacksonville.
* GSU led 4-2 when the Dolphins scored six runs in the fourth inning, but the Panthers rallied two runs in the eighth and had the tying run at third base in the ninth.
* Brandon Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and Darius Sewell added solo blast and an RBI-double for the Panthers.
JACKSONVILLE -- Georgia State led early and rallied late but suffered its first loss of the season at Jacksonville, 9-8, Friday night in the opener of a three-game series as Sessions Stadium.
The Panthers (3-1) got home runs from Brandon Gonzalez and Darius Sewell to take a 4-2 lead into the fourth inning, when Jacksonville (4-1) scored six runs to take an 8-4 lead. The Panthers rallied with two runs in the eighth and had the tying run on base in the ninth.
Gonzalez' first homer of the season, a two-run blast to left center, put the Panthers up 2-0 in the second inning, but Jacksonville answered with two unearned runs in the bottom of the frame to tie the game.
Georgia State regained the lead in the third on Sewell's mammoth homer to left, and in the fourth, Mike Huggins ripped a double inside the bag at the third base to put GSU ahead 4-2.
The key hits in Jacksonville's six-run fourth inning were a two-run single by Nathan Koslowski and a two-run double by Connor Stephens as the Dolphins chased starter Bryce Conley (0-1).
The Panthers answered with two runs in the fifth on RBI-singles by Cam Sperry and Will Kilgore to cut their deficit to 8-6. After Jacksonville added a run in sixth, Georgia State inched closer in the eighth. After Ryan Blanton reached on an error, Sewell brought him home with an opposite field double off the right field wall and then scored on Jack Thompson's single up the middle to make the score 9-8.
In the ninth, JU close Mike Cassalla got the first two outs before Jaylen Woullard singled. Justin Jones struck out, but the catcher dropped the ball and then threw wildly to second base. Jones reached on the dropped third strike and Woullard moved to third on a stolen base and the throwing error. Now with two outs and runners and first and third, Jones took off from first to induce a rundown, but Woullard was thrown out diving back to third base for the final out.
Georgia State pounded out 11 hits in the game, including two homers and two doubles, but left 11 on base.
Huggins reached base four times with two hits and two walks.
In his first appearance on the mound, Jordan Lee finished the game with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to keep the Panthers close.
Jacksonville right-hander Nathan Disch (1-0) earned the victory with three innings in relief, and Cassalla recorded his first save.
The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m.