(2-1) USC Aiken 2-1 vs. (1-2) Lincoln Memorial
No. 8 USC Aiken got off to a solid start this season by going 2-1 in a three-game weekend series against Lincoln Memorial.
Pacers coach Kenny Thomas said the early-season schedule would be tough, and it began with a scrappy Railsplitters team that featured some pretty good hitters. However, the Pacers held them to just two runs in the first two games before allowing eight in the series finale.
USC Aiken won Saturday's season opener 8-2 behind a one-hit effort by Derek Beasley, who struck out three over five scoreless innings. Beasley sat 88-90 and worked both sides of the plate well, showing especially solid command to the arm side. Beasley must be able to work both sides with confidence, and he shows that. He also had an excellent changeup in the mid-70s with fade, and a curveball that flashes above average at times.
The Pacers gave freshman Nick Yobbi his first two collegiate innings, and after early jitters, he settled down and looked exceptional. Yobbi struck out three in two scoreless innings while not allowing a hit.
The Pacers also gave Caleb Smith his first look this season, throwing low-to-mid-90s gas from the left side. I didn't get a good look at a breaking ball in this outing, but Smith's fastball is an easy plus offering, one that he can ride to the professional ranks. I'll have more on him as the season progresses.
Danny Wissmann was equally impressive in the second game, throwing five scoreless on two hits with seven strikeouts. The same applied for Taylor Peed in the third game, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts in five innings. It had to be a calming feeling for Thomas knowing his untested starters behind Beasley are getting off on a good note.
Catcher Ben Donath led the Pacers offensively, going 5 for 11 with three doubles, four RBI and a walk in the series. Thomas praised Donath's catching in the season opener after the senior first picked up a mitt in the fall. He showed good receiving ability, and Thomas said he handled the pitchers well. Donath also added a hot bat to start the season.
Shortstop Sean Miller went 5 for 12 with two doubles and five RBI, while third baseman TJ Costen went 5 for 12 with a double and RBI. Left fielder Matt Bosse added five RBI for the Pacers.
USC Aiken's weekend tournament is set to be held Friday through Sunday. The Pacers will face Shepherd on Friday, No. 1-ranked Tampa on Saturday and No. 4-ranked Mount Olive on Sunday. It should be a fun weekend.
(1-2) Georgia Regents 1-2 vs. (2-1) Carson-Newman
Georgia Regents took away solid pitching and an incredible comeback from a losing weekend, and coach Jason Eller was happy with both.
The Jaguars lost the first game 6-1 but received 5.1 good innings from Kip Custer, allowing one run on five hits with three strikeouts. Errors led to four unearned runs in the late innings.
David Bermudez gave up three runs in four innings in the second game, but Will Robertson picked him up with one run allowed in three innings. The Jaguars lost 4-3 in seven innings.
I recapped Sunday's 3-2 comeback win for the Jaguars that snapped a 23-game losing streak dating back to March 2013. It was an exciting day for the program, led by Frank Warren's 6.1 solid innings, allowing two runs while striking out eight. Warren showed excellent command to the arm side and used a good changeup to pair with a fastball that he spotted very well. He also flashed a good curveball.
Tristan Jones looked good in his first taste of college ball, throwing 1.1 scoreless. Clint Echols followed with low-90s heat for 1.1 scoreless, as well.
Center fielder Jeff Rice led Georgia Regents with four hits in three games, including a double and RBI. Bradley Dennis, Ryan Khan and Tyler Roberts each had three hits for the series.
Georgia Regents will travel to West Georgia for a three-game series Saturday and Sunday.