March 22, 2014 USC Aiken Earns Two Wins Over North Georgia
AIKEN, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Aiken baseball team recorded two one-run victories over visiting North Georgia Saturday afternoon, capturing the first game 6-5 before using an extra inning to record a 5-4 victory in the nightcap.
The Pacers improve to 20-7 overall, including a 9-5 mark against Peach Belt Conference foes.
In the opener against the Nighthawks, head coach Kenny Thomas’ team found itself trailing 1-0 after the first frame. The squad fell behind 3-0 before evening the contest in the bottom of the third.
Corey Bryant singled, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. With one down, Kody Belcher was hit by a pitch and scampered to second on a steal. Tyler Moore was hit by a pitch. T.J. Costen reached on a fielder’s choice, which plated Bryant. Ty Barkell found a spot in right center, scoring Costen and Belcher while heading into second with a stand-up double.
USC Aiken plated a run in the sixth and seventh for a 5-3 edge. The Pacers loaded the bases with two down. Ben Donath started things off by earning a walk. He moved to second on Bryant’s single before advancing to third on an error. With the bases loaded, Belcher was hit by a pitch, allowing Donath to trot home for a 4-3 score.
Thomas’ team scored a run in the seventh by a more conventional fashion. Barkell doubled to right and scored when Matt Bosse ripped a line drive into left for the two-run advantage.
However, North Georgia knotted things up in the ninth.
Tied at five and facing extra innings, Belcher started things off with a single to right. He swiped second just before Moore drew a walk. With two down, Belcher moved to third on an error, but he would have been there regardless as Barkell walked. The visitors changed pitchers, but Bosse’s single to left tallied the game-winning run.
For the game, Derek Beasley worked 7.2 innings and struck out four, but would not be part of the decision. Danny Wissmann came in and tossed the final 1.1 innings, securing the win while moving to 5-1 on the season.
Thomas’ team jumped on top in game two by a 2-0 count in the second. Barkell led things off with a double to the gap in left center. With one down, Ryan Metzler found a spot in left for a 1-0 edge. After he advanced to scoring position on a balk, Grayson Smith singled him home for the 2-0 score.
The Nighthawks would score a run in fourth and two in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead. However, the Pacers battled back in the eighth, regaining a one-run lead by scoring two.
With one down, Sean Miller singled and moved to second on Belcher’s hit. Miller advanced to third on a wild pitch and Belcher eventually stole second, putting runners in scoring position. Costen brought both home with a base-knock to left for a 4-3 margin.
The Nighthawks tied the contest in the top of the ninth and USC Aiken was unable to plate the scoring run in its half of the stanza.
While trying to score the winning run, Dylan Durham’s stellar throw at the plate nailed what would have been the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th.
In the bottom half of the inning, Miller led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Belcher’s sacrifice bunt. Moore found a spot in left center for the game-winning hit.
For the game, Wissmann picked up the win after tossing 1.1 innings of relief. Miller had three hits while scoring twice. Costen drove in a pair while Metzler and Moore each wrapped out a pair of base hits.
The Pacers return to action tomorrow in the final game of the series. Originally slated for 1 p.m., the contest has been moved up to 11 a.m.