GEORGIA STATE in the SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP
Game 1 vs. Little Rock
Tuesday, May 22, 2 p.m. ET
M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park | Lafayette, La.
PLEASE NOTE: First pitch has been moved up to 2 p.m. ET due to the threat of inclement weather.
COVERAGE: All games in the Sun Belt Conference Championship will air on ESPN+
GSU RHP Hunter Gaddis (So., 9-4, 3.18) vs. LR LHP Chandler Fidel (6-4, 4.23)
>Georgia State is making its third appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Championship since rejoining the league in 2013-14 and its fifth overall. The Panthers first played in the Sun Belt tournament in 1979 and 1980, posting a 5-4 record and finishing third in 1980. GSU is 1-3 in its current stint for a combined record of 6-7 in the Sun Belt tournament.
>The Panthers (26-28, 10-19), the No. 10 seed, open vs. No. 7 seed Little Rock (27-26, 15-14) in a single-elimination game Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET. GSU did not face the Trojans this season. Little Rock leads the series 8-4.
>To earn their way into the Sun Belt Championship, the Panthers rallied for a 5-4 victory at Georgia Southern on the final day of the regular season. Romero Greer’s two-out, RBI-single tied the game in the eighth, and then GSU scored the winning run on an error in the top of the ninth. Hunter Gaddis came out of the bullpen withe bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and struck out the final four batters.
>Seniors Justin Jones and Jordan Lee had a memorable Senior Day in a 3-2 walk-off win over Appalachian State. Jones homered in the first inning and then smacked a game-tying double in the bottom of the ninth, setting up Ryan 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 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. He has a chance to become Georgia State’s first three-time Academic All-America®.
>Junior catcher Nick Gatewood is fourth in the Sun Belt with 13 homers, seventh in RBI (49) and ninth in batting average (.321). He is one of only two Sun Belt players who rank in the Top 10 in all three triple crown categories.
>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 as National Player of the Week on May14 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.
>Friday starter Hunter Gaddis (9-4) leads the Sun Belt with nine victories (16th NCAA), which ties the Georgia State season record. 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.
>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.
>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 .308, 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 355 for the Panthers as part of his 542 career wins.
JONES’ RECORD WATCH: With 213 career games (211 starts), senior shortstop Justin Jones is collecting records and milestones.
GSU career leader in sacrifice bunts with 37 (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 607 by Michael Brand, 1993-96).
>Has 234 career hits to stand sixth in GSU history. Next up is No. 6 Charlie Pelt with 243.
>Fifth with 138 career runs scored.
>Sixth with 90 career walks.
>Tied for sixth with 45 career doubles.
>Fourth with 799 career at-bats and sixth with 213 games played.
SERIES VS. LITTLE ROCK: Little Rock leads the series with Georgia State 8-4, but three of the four series have been played at Little Rock .
>The Trojans swept the series last season at Little Rock, 8-3, 6-4 and 16-1, and has won five in a row.
>Georgia State’s last win in the series was a 7-5 road win in 2016.