AIKEN, S.C. – Eleventh-ranked USC Aiken sent its entire order to the plate and scored six or more runs in two different innings as the Pacers clinched their weekend series with No. 24 UNCP on a 16-11 victory over the Braves on Saturday evening at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
The setback marked the third loss in the last four outings for UNCP (27-15, 13-12 PBC) who dipped 1-1/2 games back of Lander in the race for a berth in next month's Peach Belt Conference Tournament. The triumph gave PBC-leading USC Aiken (28-13, 17-9) its seventh series victory of the season.
Drew Alford homered and drove in two runs on a 2-for-4 outing for the Braves, who also got two hits apiece from three other players as well, including Chad Whitehead who drove in two runs and scored once on a 2-for-5 plate performance. Four different players recorded three or more hits for the Pacers, with Ty Barkell and Will Tankersley both registering four hits apiece. Tankersley also drove in six runs, while Barkell was responsible for four RBI.
Jordan DeLoatch (4-3) surrendered eight runs (six earned) on 13 hits in four innings of work to saddle the loss for UNCP, while Derek Beasley (7-4) picked up his seventh win of the campaign despite allowing four runs (three earned) on 10 hits in six innings from the hill. Beasley also struck out seven. Taylor Grover recorded the final out of the contest to register his fourth save of the season as well.
USC Aiken scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the second to negate an early 1-0 deficit and take a lead for good. The Pacers sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run fourth inning to pad their lead out to 8-1, and then sent a dozen more batters to the dish in the sixth en route to a seven-run inning and a 16-4 advantage.
The Black & Gold trotted 11 batters to the plate in putting up a six-run seventh inning and cutting its deficit back to 16-10, and then scored a lone run in the ninth and got the tying run to the on-deck circle before succumbing to the Pacers.
The Braves will look to salvage its weekend road series on Sunday afternoon when they meet the Pacers in the series finale at Hernandez Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.