ATLANTA -- No. 20 Georgia Tech scored in each of the first seven innings and cruised to a 16-5 win over Georgia State on Tuesday at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Yellow Jackets pounded out 17 hits and were aided by three-hit efforts from Sam Dove, Kyle Wren, A.J. Murray and Matt Gonzalez in improving to 4-0.
Gonzalez went 3-for-4, hit his first career home run and finished with four RBIs. The freshman from Acworth is hitting a team-best .615 (8-for-13) on the young season and has had at least a hit and an RBI in each of the first four games.
Murray was 3-for-4, doubled and scored three times, while Dove had two RBIs and scored twice. Brandon Thomas, Daniel Palka, and Mott Hyde each had doubles and two RBIs apiece.
Sophomore Josh Heddinger, a Buford grad, worked five innings, allowed five hits and four runs but picked up the victory. Four Tech relievers limited the Panthers to two hits and a run over the final four innings. The loss was pinned on GSU lefty Ben Burns, who lasted two three innings after allowing nine hits and six runs (four earned).
"We had a good day offensively and jumped on them quickly," said head coach Danny Hall, who improved to 34-6 in his career versus Georgia State. "Sam (Dove) is playing really well for us right now. He's playing a good third base, is swinging the bat well and has been the guy that gets us going early. He's playing the way you'd like to see a senior play."
Tech was out of the gate quickly, scoring in the first inning for the third time in four games this season. Dove's one-out double got things started and Thomas followed in the next at-bat with a single for a 1-0 lead. After an error and a Murray base knock, Gonzalez ripped a two-run single to left for a 3-0 lead.
The Panthers (2-2) got two back in the second thanks to Joey Roach's two-run home run to right center, but the Jackets answered with five runs over the next three innings to put the game on ice.
Gonzalez's first career homer -- a two-run shot to left -- made it 6-2 in the third, and Palka rocketed a two-run double off the wall in center to expand the margin to 8-2 in the fourth.
The visitors added two more in the fifth, but the Jackets kept their foot on the gas with Dove's two-run single up the middle in the bottom half.
Zane Evans, Mitch Earnest and Wren drove in runs for Tech in the sixth, while Hyde's two-run double to center and the first career RBI for freshman Cole Miller -- a sacrifice fly to center -- capped Tech's scoring in the seventh.
The Jackets remain home this weekend and battle St. John's in a three-game series that begins Friday. The Red Storm is coming off a trip to 2012 Super Regionals and has been to 34 NCAA Tournaments in school history.
"They're a very well-coached team that has been deep in the Regionals and the Super Regionals the last couple of years," said Hall. "This should be a very good series."
Friday's series-opener is set for 4 p.m.