Pacers' Thomas picks up 1,000th win in sweep of Flagler

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. – Kenny Thomas claimed his 1,000th career victory as the nationally sixth-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken baseball team completed its three-game sweep of Peach Belt Conference foe Flagler at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.

After opening the series with a 3-0 shutout win over Flagler (9-10, 2-7 PBC) on Friday, USC Aiken claimed a 5-3 game one win and an 11-7 game two win on Saturday.

USC Aiken (13-2, 5-1 PBC) has now claimed all five of its three-game series this season (Lincoln Memorial, Carson-Newman, Shepherd, Francis Marion and Flagler). The Pacers swept Lincoln Memorial, Shepherd and Flagler.

In his 26th season as a head coach and 14th season in charge of the Pacer baseball program, Thomas now has a 1,000-502 career record.

USC Aiken’s all-time winningest coach presently owns a 480-279 record as the Pacer head mentor.

“Having 1,000 wins is a tremendous accomplishment for Coach Thomas and it demonstrates a career filled with success,” noted USC Aiken athletic director Randy Warrick. “I think Coach Thomas would also tell you it is a tribute to the assistant coaches and student-athletes, both past and present, who have been committed and worked hard to have winning programs.”

Thomas is currently in the top-40 among active NCAA Division II coaches for wins. His .632 winning percentage as the Pacer skipper places him in the top-30 among active NCAA Division II head coaches.

USC Aiken will next close out its season-opening 17-game homestand by welcoming regional rival and current national No. 26 Catawba to the ‘Bert for a two-game series. The two-game series will open with a 6 p.m. contest on Tuesday, March 5. One day later, USC Aiken and Catawba will conclude their two-game midweek series with a 6 p.m. game on Wednesday, March 6.

Game One: USC Aiken 5, Flagler 3

Flagler opened the first game by plating a run in the top of the first inning.

The lead would not last long as the Pacers would score three runs in the bottom half of the second to take a 3-1 lead. Flagler would then get one run back in the top of the next inning.

In the top of the fifth, the Saints would score again to even things at 3-3.

In the home half of the fifth inning, USC Aiken would score the eventual game-winning run when Bill Gerstenslager (Solon, Ohio/Mercyhurst) singled in Branden Millhouse (Summerville, S.C./USC Upstate).

In the bottom of the sixth inning, USC Aiken would score its final run of the game when Josh Miller (Chapin, S.C./Chapin HS) singled in Sean Miller (Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding HS).

USC Aiken overall out-hit Flagler, 10-9, in game one.

Three Pacers claimed multiple hits in game two with Gerstenslager, Ryan Metzler (Glen Burnie, Md./Siena) and Sean Miller obtaining two hits each.

Brett Moreland led Flagler in USC Aiken’s game one win with three hits.

One of four Pacer pitchers used in the game, starter Derek Beasley (Harlem, Ga./Harlem HS) moved to 4-0 on the year in USC Aiken’s victory. Beasley dealt 5.2 innings, striking out three.

Taylor Grover (North Augusta, S.C./Midland Valley HS) pitched a scoreless ninth to acquire his fourth save of the year.

Danny Brown (1-2) took the loss on the hill for Flagler in game one. He pitched the first seven innings of the contest. He struck out five.

Game Two: USC Aiken 11, Flagler 7

USC Aiken owned a 4-3 lead entering the top of the seventh inning in the second game.

Flagler then plated three runs in the top of the seventh frame to take a 6-4 advantage.

The advantage would not last long with USC Aiken scoring four in the home half of the frame to take back a lead that it would never relinquish.

Bryce Baur (Moncks Corner, S.C./Florence-Darlington Tech) drove in the first two runs of the seventh inning when he doubled in Josh Miller and Millhouse. Shortly thereafter, Ty Barkell (Denver, Colo./Palmer Ridge HS) would belt a two-run tater to give the Pacers an 8-6 lead.

Flagler would get one of the runs back in the top of the eighth, but USC Aiken would plate three runs in the bottom of the eighth to claim the four-run win.

Baur once again came through in the eighth when he doubled in Dylan Durham (Trenton, S.C./Strom Thurmond HS) and Sean Miller. Baur would score later in the inning off an error by the Flagler third baseman.

Barkell led the way for USC Aiken in game two, putting together a monster performance that saw him end his efforts 4-for-5 with five RBIs and one run scored.

Four Pacers ended game two with multiple hits in total. Millhouse, Josh Miller and Baur all ended game two with two hits each.

Baur had four RBIs and two runs scored in game two, while Miller scored three runs. Millhouse scored twice in game two.

USC Aiken overall out-hit Flagler, 15-10, in game two.

Mitch Okey led Flagler in game two with three hits.

One of six Pacer pitchers used in the game, Caleb Smith claimed the win for USC Aiken in game two. He is now 1-1 on the year.

Flagler starter Jake Brandenberger suffered the loss in game two. He allowed seven earned runs to fall to 4-1 on the year.

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