#22 USC-Aiken squeaks by #2 Baseball 3-2

AIKEN, S.C.--Senior third baseman Ian Kowalchuk’s one-out single to right field in the bottom of the seventh brought home the eventual winning run as #22 USC Aiken defeated visiting #2 Catawba 3-2 in baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Hernandez Stadium.  The Pacers win their fifth-straight overall to improve to 7-2, while Catawba falls to 7-3.    
Peden Rucker (3-0) got off to a rocky start as David Thomas and Mark Smith sandwiched hits around Matt Smith’s hit by pitch to load the bases in the first with no body out.  Rucker regained his form, however, and struck out the side.  The junior lefthander from Lexington, S.C. scattered 10 hits over eight innings allowing just two runs, both earned, fanning six and walking one in the win.  

Catawba got on the board first in the third after the Smith brothers walked and doubled to bring up the hard-hitting Jimbo Davis with no one out.  Davis slapped a double down the right field line to make it 2-0 Indians.  

The Pacers wasted little time in pulling back even with Catawba.  Montoya Young, the hero in Friday night’s 5-4 win over the Indians in 10 innings, led off the home half of the third with a single to left field.  After stealing second base, Young scored on an RBI double by Zach Cooper.  A wild pitch moved Cooper to third, and he then scored on Casey Derhak’s infield single to shortstop, tying it up at 2-2.  

Cooper went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored and had two of the Pacers’ three extra base hits, both doubles.  Darryl Pui was the only other Pacer with a multi-hit day going 2-for-3 with a triple.  

Both teams were held in check until the Pacers’ seventh when Kowalchuk drove home the game winner.  It marks the second time in three games Kowalchuk has delivered the game winning hit.  

Nick Wandless came on to work a perfect ninth, striking out two of the three batters he faced for his league-leading fourth save.    

Mark Smith continued his tear against USC Aiken going 3-for-4 with a double and one run scored.  He is now 7-for-9 in the series.  Thomas finished 2-for-5.  

On the mound, Tim Smith (2-1) went the distance for Catawba tossing eight strong innings allowing just three runs, two earned, on seven hits and two walks, striking out three in suffering his first loss of the season.  


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