ATLANTA -- Brandon Bell hit for the cycle, Nick Gatewood had his second straight two-homer game and Hunter Gaddis earned his sixth victory as Georgia State defeated Arkansas State 12-3 in their Sun Belt Conference series opener Friday at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Bell, the junior right fielder, was 5-for-5 with two singles, a double, a triple and a three-run homer. He is just the second GSU player to hit for the cycle, and the first since Mark Micowski vs. North Carolina Central in 2010. Bell completed the cyle with the triple to the gap in right center in the eighth inning.
Gatewood hit a solo homer and a two-run shot after smacking two solo homers Wednesday at Furman, giving the junior catcher 11 on the season.
Gaddis, the sophomore right-hander, pitched seven innings and allowed two runs but only one earned on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts to improve to 6-1 on the season.
Then Justin Jones led off the third inning with a home run, his third, down the left field line. Gatewood followed with his solo homer to right center for the Panthers' first back-to-back homers of the season.
GSU put up four more in the fourth, all with two outs. Jones singled in Ryan Glass, who led off the inning with a double, and then Gatewood hit his second homer, a line drive that he ripped down the right field line. Bell singled and came home on Jack Thompson's double to put GSU up 8-1.
After Jones walked and Gatewood was hit to lead off the sixth inning, Bell crushed a three-run homer to straightaway center, his fifth of the season and his second straight game with a long ball after hitting a grand slam Wednesday at Furman.
Jones, Gatewood and Bell, the top three hitters in the GSU order, combined to go 9-for-13 with four homers, eight RBI and nine runs scored.
With the Panthers leading 11-2, Gaddis started the eighth inning but surrendered a single and a double to put runners at second and third. Brandon Baker came on and walked the first batter to load the bases, but then he got a strike out and a double play. That was GSU's second twin-killing of the night and 35th of the season as the Panthers rank in the top five nationally.
"Tonight's win was the recipe for how we do it," head coach Greg Frady said. "Hunter Gaddis on the mound, us turning double plays, our offense cranked up and scoring some runs. It was what we needed, no doubt."
The series continues Saturday with a game scheduled for 2 p.m.