Bearcats rally late but fall in 10 innings to USC Aiken

Alex Conaway is congratulated after his sixth-inning home run in Friday's loss to USC Aiken (Photo by Joshua S. Kelly)
Alex Conaway is congratulated after his sixth-inning home run in Friday's loss to USC Aiken (Photo by Joshua S. Kelly)

GREENWOOD  The Lander baseball team rallied for three runs in the sixth inning Friday night to take a 3-2 lead over No. 23 USC Aiken, but the Pacers defeated the Bearcats, 4-3, in 10 innings in game one of Peach Belt Conference series at Dolny Stadium.

USCA improves to 21-7 overall and 7-3 in the PBC, while Lander moves to 12-16, (6-7). The two teams will play game two tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.

The Pacers' Hunter Dollander (2-0) earned the win with six strikeouts in two perfect innings of relief.

Lander's Joseph Whitt (3-2) suffered the loss after striking out two, walking one and allowing one run on four hits in two innings of work.

In the 10th inning, Skylar Mercado laced a pinch-hit single off the right field wall to score Tyler Ammerman and put the Pacers up 4-3.

Nile Goings put the Pacers up 1-0 in the fourth inning when he belted solo homer over the left field wall. The Pacers stretched the lead to 2-0 later in the inning on a Jonathan Banks sacrifice fly.

Lander rallied in the sixth when Ryan Troutman broke up Pacer starter Joseph Benitiz's no-hit bid with a two-out single. Colton Yeager then ripped a doubled down the right field line that brought Troutman all the way home. The Bearcats claimed the first lead of the night in the next at-bat when Alex Conaway blasted a two-run homer to put Lander ahead 3-2.

The Pacers knotted the score on Going's second homer of the night, a leadoff shot in the eighth inning. 

Cameron Tekker, making the first weekend start of his career, struck out five and walked three while allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings.