ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The University of South Carolina Aiken baseball team posted a 3-1 win over Columbus State in the opening game of the PBC Tournament for both teams.
The Pacers are now 30-21 on the season while the Cougars fall to 30-19.
Mitch Spence turned in an outstanding performance on the mound. He worked eight frames and gave up just one run. He struck out 10 batters on 128 pitches en route to earning the win. Spence gave way to Henry Cartrett in the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead.
Spence and CSU starter Kolton Ingram were locked in a tight dual for most of the night. Ingram (L, 4-3) went the distance for the Cougars, allowing three runs on three hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts. Ingram completed the game with 132 pitches thrown.
Alex Mills put USC Aiken on the board with a single in the second stanza. The base knock up the middle plated Joey Smithers, who reached on a fielder's choice and swiped second for a 1-0 edge.
Tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh, head coach Kenny Thomas' team got things going with two down. Mills ripped a single up the middle before Sean McQuillan reached on an infield single. Jackson Hannon's base knock loaded the bags. Chandler Rogers rocketed a pitch into left field for a 3-1 advantage.
The highlight of the night came in the top of the seventh when McQuillan went over the fence in right field to snag what would have been a homer for an out.
After Cartrett entered the game in the top of the ninth, he picked up the first out via a fly ball. After allowing a walk, he forced a groundout before ending the game via a strikeout.
For the game, Mills and Rogers had two hits apiece. Rogers drove in two while Mills knocked in one and scored once. Hannon, McQuillan and Rogers all had one hit. McQuillan and Smithers also raced across home plate.
Grant Berry and Drew Webb had two of the four Cougar hits on the night while Kendall Ford had a hit and stole two bases in addition to scoring CSU's lone run. Matthew McDade also had a a hit and a sac bunt.
Both teams will play twice on Saturday as pool play concludes. The full schedule can be found here.