NCAA Baseball: Three-Run Ninth Sends Pacers To Victory

USC Aiken's Luke Westerberg
USC Aiken's Luke Westerberg

USC Aiken score three runs in the bottom of the ninth to rally and beat Georgia College 6-5 in the opening round of the NCAA Southeast Regional on Thursday in Mount Olive, N.C.

The Pacers are now 40-13 on the season.

In the ninth, Zach Moon was hit by a pitch. Freddie Beamon III came in as a pinch runner, but was able to trot home when Daulton Weeks blasted a two-run homer over the left center field fence, tying the game at 5-5.

Jonathan Banks, who was a late-inning pinch hitter, stayed in the game at first base. He followed the Weeks' round-tripper with a 1-0 single to left center field. Tyler Ammerman bunted him to second base. Bonilla's groundout pushed Banks to third base with two away. Luke Westerberg sent a 2-2 pitch up the middle for the game-winning hit.

Trailing 2-0, Jose Bonilla led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle. Westerberg tapped a base hit through the right side, putting runners on first and second. Mitchell Price singled home Bonilla and hustled to second on the throw to the infield.

Brian Parreira tied the contest on a groundout, allowing Westerberg to score. With two down, Zach Moon ripped a single through the left side, giving the designated home team a 3-2 advantage.

The Bobcats regained the lead in the second inning with a bases-clearing double for a 5-3 lead.

Head coach Kenny Thomas' team had a pair of Pacers on the base paths in the fifth, but neither was able to cross home plate. With two down, Bonilla registered a hit to left field. He swiped second and moved to third on a throwing error. Westerberg walked and scampered to second on a passed ball. However, Price had a hard-hit grounder that was fielded cleanly by the shortstop for the final out of the inning.

For the game, Bonilla, Westerberg and Price each tallied a pair of hits. Weeks had two RBI while Moon, Parreira and Price drove in a run apiece. Joseph Benitez gave up five runs in six innings of work but did not have a decision.

The Bobcats did not score after the second frame. Nick Yobbi worked the final three stanzas and he continued his solid play by not allowing a run. Yobbi struck out a pair of Bobcats while throwing a mere 35 pitches en route to earning the victory.

The Pacers return to action tomorrow at 7 p.m., tomorrow against either Lincoln Memorial or North Georgia.