Pacers drop first game of NCAA regional

Friday May 17, 2013

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Zach Loraine struck out six in three-plus scoreless innings of relief and Shea Bell walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning as No. 4 seed Coker College outlasted No. 2 seed USC Aiken 2-1 in a winner’s bracket game in the Southeast Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Friday at Mount Olive, N.C. Mount Olive College is the host for the regional.

Coker (36-14) advances to the winner’s bracket final against top-seeded Mount Olive Saturday at 11 a.m. Mount Olive eliminated No. 3 seed Armstrong Atlantic State University 7-3 Friday. USC Aiken faces No. 5 seed Georgia College Saturday at 3 p.m. in an elimination game. Georgia College eliminated sixth-seeded Lincoln Memorial 12-0.

USC Aiken starting pitcher Derek Beasley (9-2) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, but gave up a leadoff double to Fico Kondla in the 10th inning. Kondla narrowly missed a walk-off home run as the ball hit off the wall in left-center field. Pacer closer Taylor Grover, who pitched one inning of relief in Friday’s opening-round win over Georgia College, issued a walk and hit a batter to load the bases. After starting Bell with a 1-1 count, Grover threw three straight balls to bring in Kondla with the game winner.

Coker broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth on Kondla’s two-out rbi-single, but USC Aiken centerfielder Bryce Baur prevented two additional runs in the inning. Baur gunned down T.J. Giczkowski at the plate for the final out after trying to score from second on Kondla’s hit. Earlier in the inning, Baur’s throw to the plate on Giczkowski’s single got Brinley Griffin caught in a rundown between third and home.

USC Aiken tied the game in the top of the sixth as Josh Miller led off with a double off the wall in left-center field and advanced to third on a groundout. Bill Gerstenslager drove in Miller with a single through the left side.

Loraine (5-2) took over for Coker starter Tyler Witzel with two outs in the top of the seventh and ended the inning on a foul out. An error helped USC Aiken put runners on the corners in the eighth, but Lorraine got out of trouble with a force at second for the final out. USC Aiken had the go-ahead run on third with one out in the ninth as Tyler Moore led off with an infield single and stole second and third. Loraine struck out the next two batters swinging to strand Moore. He retired the side in order in the 10th, the last two batters on strikeouts.