Lake Olmstead Stadium isn't typically known as a hitter's park, but USC Aiken and Augusta State took full advantage offensively Tuesday night in a rivalry matchup that the Pacers won 12-9.
The teams scored the 21 runs on 22 hits. USC Aiken (21-8) dominated the first five innings by taking a 9-1 lead, then Augusta State (9-19) outscored the visiting team 8-3 over the final four innings. But the Pacers prevailed, with six starters turning in multi-hit performances in the 3-hour, 2-minute game.
"That's our offense. We try to put pressure on the defense all the time, top to bottom," USC Aiken coach Kenny Thomas said. "I liked the way we hit the ball, but we didn't get the job done defensively."
The Pacers officially committed two errors, but a few other mental mistakes on infield coverage and double plays helped Augusta State mount a comeback in the middle innings.
The Jaguars, fighting to stay afloat in the Peach Belt Conference, scored twice in the sixth inning and five times in the seventh, highlighted by a grand slam by Tony Baker. The rally brought Augusta State to within three runs of one of the top teams in the region.
But Pacer leadoff man Stephen Carmon, who committed both USC Aiken errors, redeemed himself with a 3 for 5 night at the plate, including a three-run homer. Carmon started the season as the team's No. 9 hitter, but he took over the leadoff spot after teammate Alex Franklin went down with an illness, and Carmon hasn't let up since.
"I've been a leadoff man all the way up until college," he said. "I like it better, and I'm more comfortable there."
USC Aiken starter Jason Cochcroft (3-0) got the win after allowing just three hits over five innings. Ryan Milewski and Gavin Scott, a pair of freshmen relievers, followed Cochcroft and allowed seven runs, five earned, over the next two innings to let Augusta State back in the game.
"We got a big lead, and we figured we'd put some young guys in," Thomas said. "We might need them down the stretch, and we wanted to see how they'd do. That didn't work out too well tonight."
Augusta State's rally was cut short, and the Pacers were saved with their offense, led by Carmon and the bottom half of the lineup.
Matt Key, Will Fulmer and Alex Franklin, the team's No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters, combined for a 6 for 10 night at the plate with six RBI.