ATLANTA -- Will Kilgore and Kendall Ford drove in two runs each and Hunter Gaddis won his third straight start as Georgia State earned a 7-2 victory over Eastern Illinois in Friday's series opener at the GSU Baseball Complex.
GSU improved to 5-3 on the season and snapped Eastern Illinois' (5-3) five-game winning streak.
Georgia State entered the game as the NCAA leader in double plays, and the Panthers turned four tonight in support of Gaddis, who pitched into the eighth inning to improve to 3-0. The sophomore right-hander allowed just one run on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
But Gaddis and the Panthers trailed 1-0 until the sixth inning. With runners at first and third with two outs after singles by Nick Gatewood and Jake Corso, Jack Thompson tied the game with an RBI-single and then Luke Leonard singled to give Georgia State a 2-1 lead. Kilgore brought home two more with a single up the middle, and Georgia State led 4-1 after six.
In the seventh, freshman Andrew Keene led off with a double to the left field corner for his first collegiate hit, and then senior shortstop Justin Jones sacrified him to third. That was Jones' 33rd career sacrifice bunt, tying the Georgia State record set by Ryan Sterling. Then Gatewood, who had three hits on the day, singled to right field to score Keene and put GSU up 5-1.
Ford came off the bench in the eighth and delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single to increase Georgia State's lead to 7-1.
After Eastern Illinois managed a run in the ninth, Georgia State closer Jansen Acton came on with the bases loaded and struck out the final two batters to earn his second save.
EIU starter Alex Stevenson (1-1) blanked GSU for five innings but allowed four runs in the sixth. His final line saw him ptich 5-2/3 innings and allow four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
Georgia State now has 17 double plays in the first eight games after turning twin killings in the first (first baseman unassisted to short), fourth (line drive to first baseman, doubled the runner at first), fifth (third baseman unassisted to first) and eighth (shortstop unassisted to first).
Georgia State and Eastern Illinois continue their series with a 2 p.m. game Saturday.