Fifth-ranked Pacers split doubleheader with Cougars

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. – The nationally fifth-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken baseball team earned a doubleheader split with Columbus State at Roberto Hernandez Stadium on Saturday.

USC Aiken (36-9, 20-6 PBC) was able to claim an 8-7 comeback victory in game one, but fell to Columbus State (25-17, 17-8 PBC), 16-8, in game two.

The rubber match of the series between the top two teams in the Peach Belt Conference standings is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Game 1: #5 USC Aiken 8, Columbus St. 7

USC Aiken picked up a come-from-behind victory over Columbus State, 8-7, in the first game of Saturday’s twinbill. The win allowed USC Aiken to snap Columbus State’s eight-game winning streak.

Columbus State scored two runs in each of the second and third innings to get out to an early 4-0 lead. Jimmy Obermark and Ryan Lewis had RBI-singles in the second inning, and Dustin Averett hit a two-run home run in the third.

The Pacers pushed across a run in the bottom of the fourth inning on a Ryan Metzler (Glen Burnie, Md./Siena) RBI-single to cut the lead to 4-1.

The Cougars added two more runs in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 6-1. Cameron Griffin and Obermark had RBIs to stretch the lead to five runs.

USC Aiken had a big sixth inning by plating five runs to tie the game at 6-6. Sean Miller (Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding HS) drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single to open the Pacer scoring in the sixth. The Pacers then scored on a double steal when Miller stole second base in a pickle that allowed Tyler Moore (Evans, Ga./Evans HS) to come in from third. Josh Miller (Chapin, S.C./Chapin HS) then drove in Sean Miller with a single, and Bryce Baur (Moncks Corner, S.C./Florence-Darlington Tech) drove in Branden Millhouse (Summerville, S.C./USC Upstate) to close the scoring in the sixth.

Columbus State added another run in the top of the eighth inning, but the Pacers answered back with two of their own to retake the lead at 8-7. Cameron Scott drove in the Cougars run in the eighth inning.

Millhouse scored from first on a throwing error by the Cougar third baseman that also allowed Josh Miller to advance to second. Ty Barkell (Denver, Colo./Palmer Ridge HS) later drove in Miller with a single to right field to allow the Pacers to take a lead that they would not surrender.

Taylor Grover (North Augusta, S.C./Midland Valley HS) came in to slam the door for his Peach Belt Conference-leading 10th save of the season. Grover retired the Cougars in order in the ninth inning.

Danny Wissmann (Arbutus, Md./Hammond HS), one of five Pacer pitchers, earned the win. Wissmann (3-0) struck out two batters in his appearance.

Columbus State out-hit USC Aiken, 12-10, in game one. Three Cougars collected multiple hits in the game.

Three Pacers also picked up multiple hits in game one. Josh Miller went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in the game. Barkell and Sean Miller each had two hits in the victory.

Game 2: Columbus St. 16, #5 USC Aiken 8

USC Aiken fell to Columbus State, 16-8, in game two on Saturday. The loss snapped the Pacers’ nine-game winning streak.

The Cougars scored nine runs over the first three innings to race out to a 9-2 advantage. The Cougars scored two runs in the first, four in the second and three in the third innings.

The Pacers scored two runs in the bottom of the first off the bat of Josh Miller, who hit a two-run homer to left field that tied the game at 2-2 at the time.

USC Aiken would add single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to cut the lead to 9-4, but would be outscored, 7-4, the rest of the way.

The Cougars out-hit the Pacers, 17-10, in the second game of the doubleheader. Five Cougars had multiple hits in the game, led by J.D. Pullen going 4-for-5 with five runs scored. Scott was 3-for-5 with six RBIs in the Cougar win.

Josh Miller and Barkell both collected multiple hits and RBIs in the second game. Miller was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored, while Barkell was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored.

The Pacers used six pitchers in the game with Wyatt Brown (Suwanee, Ga./Middle Georgia) taking the loss. Brown is now 5-3 on the year.

Brodie Liebrandt (4-1) earned the win for the Cougars. Zach Helewski picked up a save by pitching three innings of relief and holding the lead. The save is the first of the year for Helewski.

Game One:
Game Two:

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