ATLANTA -- Georgia State opened the fall portion of team practice with a split-squad game Friday at the GSU Baseball Complex.

"We played really good baseball today," head coach Greg Frady said as he embarks on his 12th season at the helm. "It was a lot of fun watching these guys play in a split squad game. We have practice on an individual basis for the last month, and it just seemed like everybody was ready to get into the team concept. Overall, it was a really good start."

The Panthers return 21 letterwinners, led by senior shortstop and two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American Justin Jones, junior catcher Nick Gatewood, and sophomore right-handed pitcher Hunter Gaddis.

The roster also features 17 new players, including nine freshmen, six junior college transfers and two four-year transfers who sat out last season.

"Any time you are working in new players, they are learning how to play with the returning players and trying to create that chemistry," Frady said.

"The reality is that all our newcomers are doing a good job," he continued. "When you start calling names, you're going to leave someone out. Kalen Puckett played really well at shortstop, Jake Corso had a big two-out RBI, Brandon Bell not only played well in the field but got on the mound and pitched two innings, Enrique Ferrer played well, to name a few.

"I think a lot of these guys have a legitimate chance to find their way into some serious playing time, and the fall will spell that out. We've got a lot of competition right now, and it's exciting to see."

Opening Day for the 2018 season is Friday, Feb. 16 vs. Bradley.