AIKEN, S.C. – Senior outfielders Taylor Kellner and Zach Daly combined to drive in 12 runs, but No. 24 USC Aiken pounded out 21 hits and outslugged the 26th-ranked Bearcats 18-17 in a Peach Belt Conference game on Saturday afternoon at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
The Pacers improved to 9-1 overall and 5-0 in the Peach Belt. Lander fell to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the PBC. USC Aiken clinched the series after an 8-2 win yesterday.
Kellner went 3-for-6 with a career-high six RBI and two home runs. Daly was 4-for-4 with a triple, a home run and a career-high six RBI.
Daly started off the scoring in the top of the first by driving in Matt White on an RBI triple to centerfield. Thomas Berry then drove Daly home with a single to right field to give the Bearcats an early 2-0 lead. Aiken answered in the bottom of the frame on a RBI single from Zach Moon.
The Bearcats put together their best inning of the day in the third. After Daly scored from third on a passed ball, Lander loaded the bases with no outs. Taylor Kellner cleared the bags with a grand slam to put the Bearcats ahead 7-1.
The lead would not last long, as USC Aiken scored eight runs on seven hits in the bottom of the third. Mitchell Price singled, Skylar Mercado doubled and Chaz Pal drove in a run with a ground out to second base. With two outs, the Pacers loaded the bases and got three consecutive RBI singles from Jonathan Banks, Max Schoen and Tyler Ammerman. After a walk, Price doubled home two more runs and Mercado drove in another two with a single, giving the Pacers a 9-7 lead.
Lander tied the score in the top of the fourth when White scored on a fielder's choice and John Mangum singled home Colby Lusignan. However, Aiken plated four runs in the bottom of the inning on homers from Moon and Schoen and wild pitch that scored Ammerman from third.
The Pacers extended their lead to 14-9 in the bottom of the fifth on Moon's second home run of the day.
The Bearcats answered in the top of the seventh on RBI singles from Kellner and Daly and a bases loaded walk to Berry, cutting the deficit to 14-13. USC Aiken responded by scoring three runs on a bases loaded walk, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh.
Lander rallied in the eighth inning on a solo home run from Kellner and a three-run homer from Daly.
Brian Parreira's solo homer in the bottom of the eighth put the game away for the Pacers.
Joe Marlow (3-0) was the winning pitcher in relief for the Pacers while Brandon White (1-1) took the loss.