News 12 @ 11 Sunday Feb. 24, 2008
DAHLONEGA, Ga.—Freshman third baseman Nick Aranas became the first player since Bradley Key in 2004 to hit for the cycle as #19 USC Aiken (11-3, 2-1 PBC) claimed Sunday’s rubber match with North Georgia (6-7, 1-2 PBC) 18-10 to win their first Peach Belt Conference series of 2008. The 19th-ranked Pacers have won eight of their last nine.
The 6-1 product of Lexington, S.C. tripled in his first at bat in the second inning, singled in the third, doubled in the fourth frame, and then homered in the seventh to achieve the feat that is considered as rare as a no-hitter. Key hit for the cycle back on March 31, 2004 in a 14-7 win over North Greenville, making Aranas’ accomplishment the first in the nine-year Kenny Thomas era to come in a conference game.
Ryne Salmon smacked a two-out, two-run homer in the second inning to give USC Aiken a 4-1 lead. The Pacers offense continued to score early and often, putting up a three-spot in both the third and fourth innings for a 10-4 spread.
Leading 10-7 in the top of the seventh, the Pacers blew the game open, plating six runs in the frame, two coming off an RBI single back up the middle by Chad Jacobsen and the other, a three-run blast by Aranas. It was the first home runs of the season for both Salmon and Aranas, while Jacobsen notched his sixth.
Aranas finished 4-of-6 with six RBI and three runs scored. Jacoben added a 3-for-4 afternoon with four RBI, two runs scored, and a pair of walks, extending his hitting streak to 17 games dating back to last season.
John Sherrer, Cody McMorris, and David Vitko each had three hits on the day while Salmon and Gary Owens tacked on two hits a piece. As a team, USC Aiken outhit the Saints 21-14.