Braves Salvage Series At No. 11 USC Aiken
AIKEN, S.C. – Visiting and 24th-ranked UNCP pounded out 14 hits and scored eight times behind another quality start from senior Alex Pearce as the Braves salvaged their series at USC Aiken with an 8-2 win over the 11th-ranked Pacers on Sunday afternoon at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
The victory marked the fifth win over a nationally-ranked foe this season for UNCP (28-15, 14-12 PBC) who has posted four of those victories over the past two weeks. The setback snapped a two-game winning streak for USC Aiken (28-14, 17-10) who fell to second place in the PBC standings with the loss as well.
Eitan Maoz doubled and drove in four runs on a 3-for-5 outing to pace the Braves, who also got a double and three runs scored on a 3-for-4 performance from Drew Alford. Aaron Parnell and Brad Bridgeman booked a pair of hits for the Braves as well. USC Aiken got two-hit outings from five different players, including Josh Miller who doubled twice and drove in a run on a 2-for-5 hitting line.
Pearce (7-3) picked up his fifth-straight win with seven quality innings from the hill in which he struck out two and yielded a pair of earned runs. The win marked Pearce's third victory over a team ranked inside the top 15 this season as well. Wyatt Brown (6-1) saddled his first loss of the campaign for the Pacers after allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits in just five innings of work.
The Pacers took the game's first lead on Miller's RBI double with one out in the first inning, but the Braves tied the score back up on Parnell's sac fly in the third, and then scored a pair of runs in each of the next three frames to tote a 7-1 advantage into the seventh. Maoz's RBI double in the eighth would give the visitors an insurance run, but Aiken answered the score with one of its own on J.J. Loker's RBI groundout in the bottom of the frame.
UNCP will be back in action again on Wednesday when the Braves step out of league play to host region rival Pfeiffer (22-21) in a 6 p.m. contest at Sammy Cox Field.