May 15, 2008
MOUNT OLIVE, N.C.--For the second-straight season, senior Scott Wandless got USC Aiken (45-15) off to a strong start at the NCAA South Atlantic Regional, tossing a three-hit shutout as the Pacers defeated North Georgia (41-20) 1-0 Thursday afternoon at Scarborough Field in Mount Olive, N.C. With the win, the third-seeded Pacers end a six-game winning streak for the fourth-seeded Saints, the PBC Tournament champions.
The win marks the second year in a row USCA rode a strong Wandless outing to an opening round win in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Wandless allowed just one run in a 6-1 complete game win over second-seeded Columbus State.
On Thursday, Wandless (9-2) allowed just three hits and walked four in while striking out nine. The senior bounced back from a rough outing in the Peach Belt Tournament when he allowed nine runs, five earned, in a 12-8 loss to Georgia College & State.
Wandless and North Georgia’s Chris Curtis locked into a pitchers’ duel from the start, but both hurlers needed to work through early-inning jams. In the second inning, a pair of one-out walks and an infield single loaded the bases against Wandless. The senior struck out Craig Brisson to end the threat. In the bottom of the frame, the Pacers put two on with two out before Curtis struck out Brad Adkinson.
In the USCA half of the third, Cody McMorris reached on an error to start the inning. After a fielder’s choice put Chris Grandinetti on first, senior Chad Jacobsen ripped his second double of the game to move Grandinetti to third. Junior Ken Raborn plated an unearned run with an RBI groundout to second.
Settling down and getting stronger as the game went on, Wandless made the lead hold up. Over the final six innings, the southpaw allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter while striking out seven.
Josh Tate advanced to third on a passed ball with two outs in the sixth, but Daniel Pettiti flied out to right field to end the threat. In the eighth, a Grandinetti error allowed Logan Sharett to reach with no outs. Wandless proceeded to strike out Rob Flanigan, pick Sharett off first, and struck out Andre Airich to end the inning. Wandless worked a perfect ninth to finish off the game for the Pacers.
Curtis (9-3) took the loss, allowing just the one unearned run in eight complete innings on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts.
Jacobsen went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles for USCA while Gary Owens went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
The game marks the first time USC Aiken has been involved in a 1-0 game since defeating Francis Marion 1-0 on March 25, 1995 in Florence, S.C.
USC Aiken will be back in action on Friday at 7:00 PM, advancing to play the winner of the Columbus State-Belmont Abbey game Thursday afternoon. A live audio broadcast will be available on www.PacerSports.com