TJ Costen’s two-run inside-the-park homer in the sixth inning lifted No. 17 USC Aiken to a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon over Georgia Regents at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The victory completed a three-game sweep over the Jaguars.
Costen’s home run, his ninth of the season, moved him into a three-way tie for second place in the Peach Belt Conference. Lander’s Connor Lewis leads with 15.
USC Aiken coach Kenny Thomas said Costen’s hit probably saved the game for the Pacers (30-10, 16-8).
“You don’t see an inside-the-park home run often. TJ got solid contact and their outfielder made a good play on it,” Thomas said. “It provided our only runs of the game, so it was huge.”
Georgia Regents coach Jason Eller said he might have over-coached his players in the situation.
“Costen has a few homers on the year, the wind was blowing in and we had shallowed up all day to catch a few line drives,” Eller said. “I didn’t want the ball to get over Ross’ (Miles) head, so I backed him up a few steps. If I had kept him where he was the ball would have gone right to him.”
Tyler Peed (5-1) pitched seven solid innings to earn the win. He struck out five without allowing a walk and gave up only one run. Ben Black gave up two hits in a scoreless eighth and James Lynch recorded his fourth save after working a perfect ninth.
Clint Echols (2-3) went the distance for the Jaguars (16-25, 8-16) . He registered five strikeouts while scattering four hits.
Both coaches praised his efforts.
“Echols was magnificent today. We dumped him for 120 pitches today,” Eller said. “He is a senior, and this performance was exactly the type that this team needed. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t back it up with a win.”
“He pitched a great game against us,” Thomas said. “It seemed like we popped the ball up 150 times.”
Tyler Roberts led off the Jaguars’ seventh inning with a single to center field. Hunter Boose followed with a hit to left and both advanced a base on Connor Gilbert’s sacrifice bunt. Ryan Khan followed with a sacrifice fly that brought in Roberts for the Jaguars only run.