NEWBERRY, S.C.—Chad Jacobsen and Gary Owens each homered and combined to drive in nine runs as 13th-ranked USC Aiken (29-8) belted Newberry (15-22) 17-5 in non-conference baseball action on Wednesday evening at the Smith Road Complex. With a solo shot to lead off the eighth, Jacobsen, the Division II leader in home runs, smacked his 18th of the season, a new school record.
The Pacers entered the game 10th in Division II in home runs and added two more to their season total of 49. Winners of seven-straight against the Indians, USC Aiken improves to 27-11 all-time versus Newberry and an impressive 7-2 away from the friendly confines this season.
USC Aiken got off to a quick start with three runs in the first coming on an RBI single by Jacobsen, an RBI double by Owens, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nick Aranas. Jacobsen bounced back after a tough weekend with a 4-for-7 performance, scoring three times and driving in three. Owens finished 3-for-4 with a grand slam, two doubles, three runs scored, and six RBI. The homer was the 10th of the year for Owens.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Newberry took advantage of three free passes, one error, and a wild pitch to scratch across three on just one hit, claiming a 4-3 edge.
That lead, however, was short lived for the Indians as Cody McMorris’ safety squeeze scored Jamie Benjamin from third to tie it at 4-4 while Jacobsen singled home McMorris with two away to give USC Aiken the 5-4 advantage.
The Pacers tacked on two in the seventh, four more in the eighth, and plated six runs in the ninth to roll to the 17-5 win. It is the third highest run total this season for the country’s sixth highest scoring team.
USC Aiken outhit the Indians 22-6 as McMorris, Aranas, and Benjamin all contributed three hits while freshman shortstop Chris Grandinetti went 3-for-5.
Phillip Bartz led Newberry with a 2-for-5 outing, scoring twice.
Jason Cochcroft (2-0) came on in relief of Justin Fry in the fifth and held Newberry to one unearned run on two hits and three walks, striking out five in 3.2 innings for the win.
Ernie Castellano (2-1) relieved starter Chris Roman, who was chased after four batters in the first, scattering eight hits over 5.2 innings, allowing two runs in the loss.
USC Aiken returns home to Roberto Hernandez Stadium this weekend for a key Peach Belt Conference clash with #24 Armstrong Atlantic State. The series opener is Friday, April 4 at 6:30 PM.