USC Aiken Survives, Beat Lander 9-3
COLUMBUS, Ga. – The No. 13-ranked USC Aiken baseball team
dealt No. 30 Lander its first loss of the Peach Belt Conference
double-elimination tournament Friday afternoon when the Pacers
pounded out 18 hits en route to a 9-3 victory at Golden Park.
The two teams will meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday in the elimination round to see who will face either Armstrong Atlantic or Francis Marion for the conference championship on Sunday. The conference champion earns an automatic berth in next week’s NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
USCA, the third seed in the East, improves to 37-17, while Lander, the fourth seed in the East, slips to 36-17.
USCA’s Wyatt Brown (7-2) earned the win after striking out five, walking one and allowing seven hits in eight scoreless innings.
Lander’s Kyle Tate (3-2) suffered the loss after striking out one and allowing six earned runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings pitched.
The Pacers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Will Tankersley’s solo home run over the left centerfield wall.
USCA’s big inning was the third when the Pacers tallied four runs and stretched their lead to 5-0. Josh Miller’s fielder’s choice drove in JJ Loker, while Nick Aranas and Bill Gerstenslager added RBI singles that scored Miller and Tankersley. Aranas later stole home.
The Pacers scored one run each in the fifth and sixth innings on an RBI double by Tyler Bourdo and Miller’s RBI single that drove in Gerstenslager and Baur to extend the lead to 7-0.
USCA continued its assault with two more eighth-inning runs. Aranas tripled and went home on a wild pitch, and Baur singled in Anderson.
The Bearcats prevented the shutout with three runs in the ninth inning. Ian Harvey’s double plated pinch runner Tyler Wilson, AJ Nunziato’s fielder’s choice scored Colby Painter, and Harvey went home on Patrick Grady’s RBI single.
For USCA, Gerstenslager batted 3-for-4, Tankersley 3-for-5, Ty Barkell 2-for-3, Aranas 2-for-4, and Baur and Miller 2-for-5.
For Lander, Painter went 3-for-4, Grady 3-for-5, and Jeff May 2-for-4.