Georgia State’s Hunter Gaddis is the Sun Belt Conference’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, as selected by the league’s head coaches.
Gaddis was joined on the Preseason All-Sun Belt team by senior two-way player Brandon Bell, selected as the utility player, and sophomore Ryan Glass, the designated hitter. Gaddis, the 6-6 junior right-hander, has established himself as one of the top starting pitchers in the Sun Belt Conference and the nation in his first two seasons, posting a career record of 13-8 with a 3.28 ERA.
In 2018 he was named All-Sun Belt Conference, Sun Belt All-Tournament and two-time Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week as he compiled a 9-4 record. He ranked second in the league in strikeouts (98) and third in ERA (2.95) while logging 100.2 innings.
The Canton, Ga., native finished the 2018 season with a dominating performance vs. Little Rock in the Sun Belt tourney, despite pitching on short rest. He took a no-hitter with a career-high 12 strikeouts into the eighth inning before allowing a single up the middle with two outs in the eighth. That marked the second time in two seasons that Gaddis has taken a no-hitter into the eighth inning.Combined with his relief outing on the final day of the regular season, for his last nine innings of 2018, Gaddis allowed zero runs on one hit with 16 strikeouts.
Bell, the versatile senior from Fayetteville, Ga., is the Panthers’ top returning hitter as well as a right-handed reliever. After starting in right field a year ago, he could play third base this spring. He ranked sixth in the Sun Belt with a .333 average in 2018, along with five homers and 26 RBI in 36 games, and he led team with .430 on-base percentage. The highlight of his season came when he hit for the cycle vs. Arkansas State; he was 5-for-5 with a single, double, single, 3-run homer and a triple as he became just the second player in GSU history to hit for the cycle. On the mound, he earned his first save by recording the final five outs in 7-4 win at Kennesaw State, including two strikeouts.
Glass is a 6-5, 220-pound power-hitting DH or corner infielder. As a freshman, he belted seven homers, seven doubles and 19 RBI in just 39 games to earn second-team All-Sun Belt honors.
He was named Named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper on May 14 after a week in which he homered in three straight games and then had a walk-off single. That helped him finish the seaosn with a nine-game hitting streak during which he hit .313 with five homers and seven RBI. The Mableton, Ga., native also made a splash in his debut as he hit a two-run homer in his first collegiate at-bat and drove in all three runs in the Panthers’ 3-1 Opening Day victory over Bradley.
Opening Day for the 2019 season is Friday, Feb. 15, when the Panthers host Richmond in the first game of the annual Atlanta Challenge at the GSU Baseball Complex.