Thursday Jan 8, 2009
AIKEN, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Aiken baseball team will enter the 2009 season as the 10th ranked team in NCAA Division II according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
The preseason ranking begins the 2009 campaign for USC Aiken roughly where it concluded the 2008 campaign. The 2008 Pacers, who advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the fourth consecutive season, fell just one game short of the NCAA Division II World Series, losing to eventual national champion Mount Olive in the South Atlantic Region Championship game.
The Pacers were ranked 10th at the time of their loss to Mount Olive. Overall, the 2008 USC Aiken baseball team finished the year 47-17. The Pacers were 18-9 in the Peach Belt Conference, ending the regular season second in the conference. The Pacers’ 47 victories helped them win 30-plus games for the eighth-straight season. The victory total of 40 or more wins marked the third time in the past four years that the Pacers had secured 40 or more wins.
USC Aiken’s 47 wins also set the new school standard for victories in a season. The 1993 Pacers set the original mark of 46.
USC Aiken is one of four teams from the Peach Belt Conference ranked among the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s preseason top 40. Columbus State is the highest ranked team from the PBC at No. 5. North Georgia is ranked 17th in the preseason poll, while Francis Marion is No. 33.
Georgia College & State received votes, but just missed on being included in the top 40. Defending national champion Mount Olive is ranked No. 1.
The USC Aiken baseball team will begin practice for its 2009 season at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11. USC Aiken opens its 2009 regular season at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Roberto Hernandez Stadium in Aiken, S.C. against the South Atlantic Conference’s Wingate.
The Pacers will have their first three-game series the next weekend against Wingate’s fellow SAC school Lincoln Memorial at Roberto Hernandez Stadium. The three-game set begins with a 4 p.m. contest on Friday, Feb. 6. The series continues with a 1 p.m. game on Saturday (Feb. 7) and Sunday (Feb. 8).
The Pacers will host No. 17 North Georgia in their first league series of the year on Saturday, Feb. 21 and Sunday, Feb. 22. The series begins with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The two top 20 programs will conclude the series with a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday.