With the announcement of USC Aiken's No. 2 ranking by College Baseball Lineup and No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, expectations remain the same for the Pacers in 2014. Another good recruiting class from the early period means it shouldn't change anytime soon.
Coach Kenny Thomas said JUCO pitchers set the tone for the class, and two in particular are at the front.
Joseph Marlow is a big-bodied, 6-5 right-hander from Kennesaw, Ga., who has played at Georgia Perimeter. He was clocked at 85 by Perfect Game in a 2011 underclass event, and with more arm strength means better velocity. Marlow should continue the trend of big righties coming from the Pacer staff.
USC Aiken is also plucking Brad Taylor from Georgia Perimeter. Taylor is a 6-4 right-hander from Fitzgerald, Ga., also with showcase experience. He is more projectable and has room to add to his frame.
Also taken from Georgia Perimeter is Erik Davis, a 6-2 left-hander with another athletic frame. He shows the ability to command three pitches from a slow motion and was clocked at 82 out of high school. He also shows bat speed and pull pop at the plate as a designated hitter.
Another JUCO athlete USC Aiken picked up is Robert Ard, a catcher from USC Salkehatchie. Ard is a 6-0 receiver from Lynchburg, S.C.
A local talent the Pacers signed is Collin Beasley, another Harlem arm following in the footsteps of brother and current senior left-hander Derek Beasley.
Ryan Hunt, Zachary Trombley and Ben Utley are three infielders signed from various regions. Hunt is a small middle infielder who received exposure during an East Cobb showcase. Trombley and Utley are also prep infielders with similar profiles who should hit for average.
The three JUCO pitchers mark another solid class from the early signing period for USC Aiken. The Pacers have developed a trend of strong arms coming from the staff while producing pop around the field. While the signed infielders are more suitable for high averages, both trends should remain with this class.