AIKEN, SC – Twenty-second-ranked USC Aiken broke an early 1-1 deadlock by scoring 12 unanswered runs and the Pacers claimed a 13-1 Peach Belt Conference victory over Francis Marion University, Friday night (April 14) in baseball action.
Francis Marion (27-15, 8-11) and USCA (29-10, 13-6) will conclude their weekend series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Freshman outfielder Connor Howell led Francis Marion at the plate with a 2-for-3 evening that included the Patriots' lone RBI.
The Pacers scratched across an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. Francis Marion quickly answered with a score in the top of the second. Junior third baseman Brooks Kennedy walked with two outs and moved around to third on a failed pickoff by USCA starter Joseph Benitez (8-2). Howell then drove home Kennedy with an infield single.
USCA scored two runs in the third to break the deadlock and added three more in the fifth to go on top 6-1.
Benitez pitched eight innings and surrendered only five hits, while striking out 10.
FMU freshman left-hander Garrett Wilson (5-3) started Friday's contest and was charged with the loss. He allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Patriot junior outfielder Reese Cooley walked to lead off the fourth (and later in the game singled) to extend his streak of safely reaching base to 24 straight games.