Pacers knock off defending champs on the diamond

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Tuesday Feb. 24, 2009

AIKEN, S.C. – Steven Spire pitched a complete game in USC Aiken’s 5-3 victory over defending NCAA Division II National Champion and current No. 15 Mount Olive at Roberto Hernandez Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

The victory somewhat avenged USC Aiken’s two losses to then top-ranked Mount Olive in the championship round of the 2008 NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional.

The Pacers, who had won the first game between the two at the regional to make sure that the Trojans had to beat them twice in the championship round, saw one of the most prestigious years in program history come to a close with the two losses.

The losses also denied USC Aiken its first appearance in the NCAA Division II World Series in 15 years.

Spire (Swansea, S.C./Swansea) almost single-handedly made sure that the Pacers would not succumb to the Trojans for a third-consecutive time on Tuesday.

Spire (2-1) fanned six batters in the game and allowed nine hits with only four or five of them really accounting for momentum for Mount Olive.

Mount Olive starting pitcher David Travis (1-2) pitched the first 5.1 innings for the Trojans, leaving the game having given up three earned runs en route to his second loss of the year.

Neither team could really get anything going offensively until USC Aiken plated the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The RBI on the first run of the game for USC Aiken came from an unlikely source as freshman shortstop Stephen Carmon, who entered the game without a hit, drilled a Travis pitch to deep right field for a double. The double by Carmon garnered the freshman his first hit as a Pacer and gave USC Aiken the lead at 1-0 after John Sherrer (LaGrange, Ga./LaGrange) scored. Sherrer had arrived on base by doubling to left centerfield.