Aaron Pringle, Staff Writer
The USC Aiken Pacers swept the Pirates Friday in the Peach Belt Conference opening series. The Pirates lost 11-5, along with Saturday’s doubleheader losses of 14-9 and 8-4.
The loss levels the Pirates’ record to an even 4-4 on the season and 0-3 in PBC play. Following their win, the Pacers move to 6-1 and 3-0 in the conference.
In Friday’s opening series game, USC Aiken to an early 2-0 lead in the first two innings with a sacrifice fly by Zach Moon in the first, and an RBI groundout by Mitchell Price in the second.
In the fourth inning the Pirates tied the game up with a two-RBI single by sophomore Chandler Corley, however the Pacers quickly regained a 5-2 lead later in the fourth inning with an RBI single, a bases-loaded hit batter and a wild pitch.
Armstrong would get two back in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI double by senior Jerad Curry and an RBI by Corley on an error. Aiken then scored one more in the bottom of the fifth and added three more in the sixth putting the game out of reach for the Pirates.
Senior Corey Kafka took the loss for the Pirates giving up five hits and five runs – four earned – in four innings. Corley finished 1-for-4 with three RBI’s, while junior Ryan Lawless went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
In Game 2 Saturday, The Pirates got off to a good start taking a 2-0 lead on a passed ball and an RBI single by junior Ryan Patterson. USC Aiken also had a hot start of their own, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first, knocking out senior starter Jamie Thaggard (1-1) before he could earn one out.
That poor start proved to be too much for the Pirates as they never could rally back into the game. They put on four runs in the fourth inning, but could not make up for the early deficit.
In Game 3, the Pirates’ JT Phillips and the Pacers’ Nick Yobbi had a competitive pitcher’s match over the first five innings. Each team only scored one run – the Pacers on a sacrifice fly by Mitchell Price in the second and the Pirates on a solo home run by Curry in the fourth.
The Pacers finally caught up to Phillips in the sixth, scoring three runs, led by a price two-run single. The Pacers then added two more in the seventh on Zach Moon’s two-run double.
Armstrong cut the lead to 6-3 in the eighth, but the Pacers would add two later in the inning to clinch the win.
The Pirates will look to rebound this weekend when they host PBC opponent Francis Marion in a three-game series. The first game takes place Saturday, Feb; 20 at 1:30 p.m. and a doubleheader Sunday, Feb 21 with the first game starting at 11 a.m. and the second to follow.