GEORGIA STATE (25-26, 9-17) at GEORGIA SOUTHERN (27-23, 16-10)

THE SERIES (at J.I. Clements Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.)
Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Thursday: GSU RHP Hunter Gaddis (So., 8-3, 3.18) vs. GS Brian Eichhorn (4-3, 3.24)

Friday: GSU RHP Jake Rogers (Jr., 4-5, 4.59) vs. GS RHP Seth Shuman (6-5, 4.61)

Saturday: TBA vs. TBA

LEADING OFF

>Fighting for a berth in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, Georgia State concludes the regular season at Georgia Southern, beginning Thursday. 

>Georgia State enters the weekend with the 10th position in the 10-team field. The Panthers are one-half game behind No. 9 ULM and one-half game ahead of No. 11 Arkansas State and 1.5 games ahead of No. 12 Appalachian State.

>The Panthers are coming off a series victory over Appalachian State. Ace Hunter Gaddis won the Friday game, 4-2, and then seniors Justin Jones and Jordan Lee and freshman Ryan Glass provided the heroics in a 3-2 win on Senior Day. Jones homered in the first inning and then smacked a game-tying double in the bottom of the ninth, setting up Glass' walk-off single. Lee allowed two runs on four hits in a career-high 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts, also a career best.

>Seniors Justin Jones (4.11 GPA) and Will Kilgore (3.91 GPA) were named last week to the Google Cloud Academic All-District® baseball team by CoSIDA). Both are now eligible for the Google Cloud Academic All-America® baseball team, which will be announced next month.

>Jones is already a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America®, earning second-team honors in 2017 after third-team accolades in 2016.

>Junior catcher Nick Gatewood is fifth in the Sun Belt with 12 homers, fifth in RBI (46) and eighth in batting average (.330).

>Two Georgia State players have been named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball this season in junior catcher Nick Gatewood (April 9) and freshman DH Ryan Glass (May 14). That gives GSU seven National Player of the Week Awards in the last five seasons.

>Glass was honored this week after homering in three straight games and then hitting a walk-off single on Senior Day.

>Glass, the 6-4, 220-pound freshman who homered in his first collegiate at-bat in the Opening Day win over Bradley, now has seven homers on the season, the most for a GSU freshman since 1997.

>Gatewood was named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game as well as Sun Belt Player of the Week after going 8-for-15 with four homers, 11 RBI and nine runs scored in four games while catching 34 of 35 innings.

>On April 6 vs. Arkansas State, right fielder Brandon Bell became just the second player in GSU history to hit for the cycle (Mark Micowski vs. N.C. Central, 2010). Bell was 5-for-5: single, double, single, 3-run HR, triple. His cycle came one game after he hit a grand slam at Furman.

>Friday starter Hunter Gaddis (8-3) leads the Sun Belt with eight victories and ranks fifth in ERA (3.18) and sixth in strikeouts (77). Following his standout rookie season (4-4, 3.72), Gaddis became the first Panther to pitch for the Team USA Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2017.

>Gaddis has twice been named Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week:-March 26: Threw his second complete game in 7-2 win vs. South Alabama, allowing four hits and striking out eight. He blanked the Jags for seven innings before allowing two runs in the eighth.-March 12: Complete-game, three-hit shutout with a career-high 10 strikeouts and no walks in 2-0 win at Samford. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

>Gaddis also defeated No. 16 Coastal Carolina as he allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings.

>The Georgia State pitching staff tied a 22-year-old school record by striking out 18 batters in a 6-5, 12-inning win over Louisiana (April 27). Four pitchers were involved: Hunter Gaddis (8), Brandon Baker (4), Jansen Acton (3) and Tyler Koch (3). The record was first set vs. Furman in 1996.

>Justin Jones, hitting .310, recently reached another milestone with his 100th career RBI. He is one of 12 players in school history with 200 career hits, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored.

>In the April 27 6-5 win over Louisiana, Jones tied the game with a homer in the eighth inning and then won it in the 12th with a squeeze bunt. That is the fifth time in his career he has driven in the winning run in extra innings.

>Now in his 12th season, head coach Greg Frady is Georgia State’s career victory leader with 354 for the Panthers as part of his 541 career wins.

JONES’ RECORD WATCH: With 210 career games, senior shortstop Justin Jones is collecting records and milestones.

>GSU career leader in sacrifice bunts with 36 (Previous record: 33 by Ryan Sterling, 2003-05).

>Hit by pitch 33 times, second in GSU history to Bradley Logan, 35, 2007-10.

>GSU’s career leader in fielding assists with 598 (Previous record was 524 by Michael Brand, 1993-96).

>Has 231 career hits to stand seventh in GSU history. Next up is No. 6 Josh Vandiver with 233.

>Tied for fifth with 137 career runs scored.

>Tied for sixth with 89 career walks.

>Tied for sixth with 45 career doubles.

>Tied for fourth with 787 career at-bats and seventh with 210 games played.

SERIES VS. GEORGIA SOUTHERN: Georgia State won two of three from the Eagles last season to even the series at 5-5 since Georgia Southern joined the Sun Belt Conference.

>The team’s played a memorable series in Atlanta last season. In Game 1, the Panthers trailed 7-5 in the eighth inning when senior Ryan Blanton hit a grand slam to send GSU to a 9-7 victory. In Game 2, Blanton again came to the plate with bases loaded and the Panthers trailing 3-2 in the fourth inning, and he delivered a two-run single. The Panthers went on to win 7-6 and clinch their Sun Belt tournament berth. Georgia Southern won Game 3 13-3.

>Before Georgia Southern joined the Sun Belt in 2015, the teams had not played since 2007. The Eagles lead the all-time series 61-22.

>Georgia State and Georgia Southern annually compete in the Rivalry Series all-sports competition. The Panthers captured the Rivalry Series trophy in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and have already clinched this year’s title with a 16.5-4.5 lead.