Pacers upset in NCAA regional

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Thursday May 14, 2009

AIKEN, S.C. – Belmont Abbey’s Patrick Atwell scored on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth inning and the sixth-seeded Crusaders upset the top-seeded and fifth-ranked USC Aiken Pacers, 6-5, on Thursday evening at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.

The contest was the final of the first three games of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional on Thursday.

Atwell started the top portion of the ninth frame by collecting a walk off USC Aiken reliever Chad Benefield. After moving up on a Justin Vasquez single through the left side to place runners at first and second for the Crusaders, the two runners then moved up one base each on a Daniel Kassouf ground out to USC Aiken third baseman Nick Aranas.

Benefield then dealt a wild pitch to score the eventual game-winning run in Atwell from third base. With two outs, Benefield then struck out Spencer Sobol to end the Belmont Abbey portion of the ninth.

USC Aiken would get one runner on base in the bottom of the ninth, but they would not be able to muster anything more with the Crusaders behind the efforts of Jordan Cudney on the hill holding on for the upset victory.

Cudney improved to 1-3 on the year from the mound with the victory. Cudney pitched the final 1.1 innings for starter Michael Raymond, who struck out seven Pacers in 7. 2 innings pitched.

Cudney hurled the final 1.1 innings for Belmont Abbey, fanning two.

Benefield took the loss for the Pacers in relief of starter Jason Cochcroft. Benefield , who pitched the final 2.2 innings, is now 4-2 on the 2009 season. Cochcroft fanned four in his 6.1 innings on the mound from the start for USC Aiken.

Belmont Abbey opened the game with Kassouf belting a home run to left field to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.

USC Aiken would take its only lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth with three runs that put them ahead 3-1. Ken Raborn kicked off the stanza by blasting his 14th home run of the year in the inning.