AIKEN – Mount Olive’s Gunner Kines mixed pitches effectively for five innings, but USC Aiken remained patient and struck in a big way.
Right fielder Tyler Moore hit a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth to lift the eighth-ranked Pacers past the Trojans 10-5 on Sunday at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
Kines carried a no-hitter through five innings, allowing just one baserunner in the form of a walk that came in the first. The 6-foot-3 left-hander used an array of off-speed pitches to keep hitters off-balance.
The Pacers got to Kines in the sixth when a walk, single and hit batter set up a grand slam by Moore to give them a two-run lead.
“That was obviously a big blow,” USC Aiken coach Kenny Thomas said. “All we needed for him was to square the ball up and don’t roll the ball over. He did square it up. He hit it pretty good.”
USC Aiken (4-2) broke it open with a six-run seventh after Kines was pulled following the grand slam in the sixth. Sean Miller, Dylan Durham, Kody Belcher and Moore each drove in one, and TJ Costen followed with a two-run homer to cap the scoring.
Moore went 2 for 5 with five RBI. Durham added two hits and one RBI, and Costen added two RBI on the one hit.
Kines allowed four runs on two hits in 5⅓ innings, striking out three for No. 4 Mount Olive (4-2).
“(Kines) kept us off-balance,” Thomas said. “He had three pitches and we were totally off-balance. It’s funny because you sit there and think we’re dead, we have nothing. All of a sudden we just changed our approach and, once we did that, it went to a totally different game.”
The offensive onslaught supported a solid combined effort by USC Aiken’s Danny Wissmann and Taylor Peed. Wissmann started and allowed two unearned runs on three hits while striking out seven in four innings.
Peed pitched four scoreless before allowing three runs with two outs in the ninth. The right-hander struck out four.
It was a bounceback win for the Pacers after falling 8-4 to No. 1 Tampa on Saturday. The Pacers led the top-ranked team 4-3 until the Spartans scored five in the ninth. USC Aiken finished its weekend tournament 2-1.
“They felt like we had that game and lost it in the ninth,” Thomas said. “I told them, ‘You have to have short memories.’ Finally, we just got the speed game going and it got us a victory.”