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ATLANTA — Ryan Blanton and Will Kilgore homered but Georgia State fell to Coastal Carolina 8-5 Saturday at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Coastal Carolina (18-10, 6-2 Sun Belt) hit three home runs, including two solo shots in the first inning by leadoff hitter Billy Cooke and Kevin Woodall Jr.
But Blanton, the Panthers’ (11-16, 1-7 Sun Belt) senior center fielder, led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot of his own for his team-leading fifth homer of the season. That was career home run No. 20 for Blanton, six of which have led off games.
The Chanticleers added three runs in the second on a wild pitch and a two-run single by Peyton Isaacson, and Georgia State answered in the bottom of the inning with a run on Jack Thompson’s sacrifice fly to trail 5-2.
Kilgore, the GSU second baseman, led off the vourth inning with a solo homer to left field, his third of the season. After singles by Thompson and Blanton and a sacrifice by Justin Jones, Nick Gatewood’s RBI-grounder pulled the Panthers within 5-4.
Jones had a ninth-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. The GSU shortstop also made a spectacular defensive play in the fifth inning as he made a diving catch on a sharp line drive and then doubled the runner off first base.
Coastal Carolina pulled extended its lead with a two-run homer by Cory Wood in the sixth and a sacrifice fly by Cooke in the eighth. The Panthers final run scored in the eighth on a double play grounder.
Andrew Beckwith (3-1), one of the heroes of Coastal’s national championship season and the Preseason Pitcher of the Year in the Sun Belt, earned the win out of the bullpen. He relieved starter Jason Bilous in the fourth inning after GSU had pulled within 5-4 and pitched the final six innings, allowing just one unearned run on three hits while striking out six.
GSU starter Bryce Conley (2-5) allowed five runs in the first two innings but then tossed three scoreless innings.
Georgia State looks to snap its six-game losing streak as the series concludes with a 1 p.m. game Sunday. Free audio is available on GeorgiaStateSports.com and the GSU mobile app.