Pacers Rally For Four In Ninth To Shock UNCP In Series Opener
AIKEN, S.C. – Eleventh-ranked USC Aiken used a costly fielding error and a three-run home run by Bill Gertenslager to plate four runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and shock No. 24 UNCP, 7-6, in the front end of a series-opening doubleheader on Saturday at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
The setback marked the second loss in the last three outings for the Braves (27-14, 13-11 PBC), while the triumph helped the Pacers (27-13, 16-9) snap a four-game skid, including a three-game slide in league play.
UNCP got multi-hit days from five different players, including newcomer Jordan Edgerton who doubled, homered and scored twice on a 2-for-4 hitting line. Kyle Adair booked a 3-for-4 performance for the Black & Gold as well. Gertenslagler (1-for-5) and Josh Miller (2-for-5) both tagged 3-run homers for USC Aiken, while leadoff hitter Stephen Bellantoni singled three times on five trips to the plate as well.
Braxton Lewis (1-2) struck out one and allowed just three hits in 1-1/3 innings of relief work, but suffered the tough-luck loss en route to his second blown save of the season for the Braves. Ryan Milewski (6-0) stayed unbeaten on the season after allowing six hits and a lone earned run in five innings of relief for the Pacers.
UNCP used a two-run single from J.J. Williams in the second, as well as Adair's RBI single in the third, to stake claim to a 3-0 lead, but USC Aiken got a three-run homer from Miller in the bottom of the third to knot the score back up. The Braves would, eventually, pad their lead back out to a trio of runs with a pair of runs in the fourth and Edgerton's solo homer in the sixth.
USC Aiken got two of their first three batters aboard in the ninth via a bean ball and a fielding error by Williams, and then cut its deficit back to two runs, 6-4, on Miller's two-out RBI single that set the table for Gertenslager's dramatics.