Posted March 10, 2014 02:16 pm

Beasley, Miller are solid in exciting Peach Belt series

USC Aiken

The Pacers took two of three from a tough Armstrong Atlantic State team, including a wild 7-6 win in 10 innings Saturday.


USC Aiken's Derek Beasley returned to start the series opener, allowing five runs with six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Beasley looked a little rusty but was still strong, working 86-88 and touching 89 with tail. As I've said before, Beasley's best attribute is the confidence to work both sides with a good fastball. His changeup again flashed plus around 78; it turns over well and he gets solid arm action off the pitch. His hard curveball is around 74 with tight spin, but he can get underneath it with his three-quarters arm slot, and his command of it is inconsistent. He has a slower curve around 67 that breaks slow, and it's a good change of pace a couple times per game. Beasley is a max effort guy with solid stuff from the left side.


Armstrong catcher Clayton Miller, a former Lakeside star, impressed me greatly. He has a Jeff Bagwell-esque crouch at the plate that keeps his body quiet throughout. He's a quick-twitch hitter with strong hands and very good bat speed. That allows his power to play up with a solid hit tool. It showed by taking Beasley deep the opposite way for a three-run homer. I'm not afraid to slap a 5 hit/power with 6 potential on the hit. Miller's arm is his best tool. It's better than many pro catchers I've seen come through the South Atlantic League. I wouldn't hesitate throwing a 6 on the arm. I didn't get a pop time on Miller, but a trusted source said it has been 1.85-1.9 in the past. Miller is an athletic receiver with good feet and enough mass to stay behind the plate. He's easily the most underrated catcher in Georgia, by my count, and should get draft interest.


USC Aiken's Matt Bosse flexed his muscles in the second game with two homers and six RBI. TJ Costen had three hits, including two doubles. Tyler Moore recorded four singles, and Sean Miller added two hits and three RBI. Danny Wissmann allowed four runs but struck out nine in 6.2 innings in the second game.


Taylor Peed allowed five runs in 5.1 innings for the Pacers in the third game. Ryan Metzler went 3 for 4 with a double, homer and two RBI. Tyler Moore added three hits, including a triple and RBI.


USC Aiken has two games against Chowan on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Pacers travel to Young Harris for the weekend.


Georgia Regents

The Jaguars took two of three from North Georgia to win their first Peach Belt Conference series since Feb. 17, 2013.


Kip Custer overcame three walks and only two strikeouts to allow just one run in six innings in the first game. Tristan Jones was solid in relief, allowing one run in three innings. Clint Echols struggled in the second game, allowing five runs on six hits in two innings. Echols has solid stuff with a fastball that runs 90, but his command is developing for a starting role. Will Robertson followed with two runs in four innings in relief of Echols. Frank Warren allowed one run in 5.2 innings in the third game.


Jeff Rice went 3 for 4 with a homer and two RBI in the first game. Ross Miles added three hits and two RBI. JD Sabo went 3 for 3 with a double and two walks in the third game.


Georgia Regents plays host to Erskine on Tuesday before traveling to Lander for the weekend.



The Bulldogs swept their tournament in three games over the weekend, with wins over Buffalo, North Florida and Western Carolina. They now have eight consecutive wins, all non-conference.


Georgia's Ryan Lawlor allowed four runs in only 1.1 innings against Buffalo. Ross Ripple followed with three runs in 3.2 innings. Jared Walsh allowed three runs in two innings against North Florida. David Sosebee put himself on the map with five scoreless innings in relief, striking out four. Patrick Boling had the best outing against Western Carolina, throwing 7.1 innings of two-run ball with three strikeouts.


Nelson Ward went 6 for 10 with three doubles, four RBI and two walks in the three games. Connor Welton went 5 for 12 with a home run, two RBI and a walk. Hunter Cole had a quieter series but still had two doubles and two RBI.


Georgia plays host to Western Kentucky on Tuesday and Wednesday before Mississippi State comes to Athens for an SEC weekend series.


Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets lost two of three to Wake Forest to open ACC play.


Friday was a full staff effort after Jonathan King threw just two innings. Devin Stanton threw the most with three innings, allowing two runs. Jonathan Roberts allowed five runs in relief. Pitching again struggled Saturday as Cole Pitts allowed three runs and five walks in two innings. Dusty Isaacs allowed one earned run and two total in four innings. Matthew Grimes picked up the slack in the third game with five solid innings, allowing one run on two hits with two strikeouts. Grimes remains a senior sleeper for Georgia Tech.


Thomas Smith had five hits in the three games, including two doubles. Daniel Spingola added five hits, including a triple and RBI. The rest of the Georgia Tech hitting was sporadic.


The Yellow Jackets play host to Western Carolina on Tuesday before Miami comes to Atlanta for the weekend.


South Carolina

The Gamecocks went back to their shutout ways in a three-game sweep of Brown. At 15-0, they are now No. 1 in the nation in Baseball America's latest poll.


Jordan Montgomery opened the series with 5.1 scoreless innings on four hits, striking out eight. Jack Wynkoop threw eight shutout innings in the second game, giving up four hits with five strikeouts. South Aiken product Taylor Widener closed that game out, allowing two hits but striking out the side in a scoreless frame. Wil Crowe also threw eight scoreless innings in the third game, allowing four hits and striking out nine.


South Carolina has three hitters above .350. Connor Bright is hitting .418 with eight doubles and eight walks. Kyle Martin is hitting .377 with two home runs and nine walks. Grayson Greiner had a great weekend and is hitting .373 with three home runs and eight walks.


South Carolina plays host to Furman on Tuesday and Ole Miss for the weekend.



The Tigers swept Virginia Tech in three games to open ACC play. They sit 14th in the latest Baseball America poll.


Daniel Gossett struck out nine while allowing two runs on two hits in six innings in the first game. Matthew Crownover allowed one earned and two total runs in six innings in the second game. Jake Long and Clate Schmidt combined to allow four runs in seven innings in the third game. Schmidt didn't allow a walk and struck out two.


Garrett Boulware went 4 for 11 with a double, homer and four RBI in the three games. Chris Okey combined to go 5 for 11 with five RBI. Weston Wilson had a good second game, going 3 for 4 with a homer and five RBI.


Clemson plays host to Appalachian State on Wednesday before traveling to Wake Forest for the weekend.


Other notes

Georgia Southern swept Holy Cross to move to 14-2, winning its past seven games. Sam Howard allowed one run with eight strikeouts in seven innings in the first game. Chase Griffin went 6 for 18 with two doubles, three RBI and a stolen base.


Kennesaw State's Max Pentecost had a decent weekend against Columbia, going 4 for 16 with a double, three walks and two stolen bases.