The nationally sixth-ranked USC Aiken baseball team opened its 2013 Peach Belt Conference campaign Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Palmetto State rival Francis Marion at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.

After falling behind by a run, USCA posted single tallies in the fourth and sixth innings to take a 2-1 advantage.

It (9-1, 1-0) entered the ninth clinging to a 2-1 advantage but Francis Marion (4-4, 0-1) tied the game with a run in the top of the inning.

Undeterred, the Pacers plated a run of their own in the home half of the ninth to claim the dramatic 3-2 win.

Ryan Metzler started off the bottom of the ninth for USCA when he singled to right field. Tyler Moore attempted to sacrifice Metzler to second, but his bunt turned into a single, leaving runners at first and second with no outs.

The Pacers scored the game-winning run when Metzler came home from second on an error by Francis Marion’s first baseman on another sacrifice bunt attempt by the Pacers.

Bryce Baur was the only Pacer with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored as USCA out hit Francis Marion, 7-6.

Midland Valley High School alum Taylor Grover had his first blown save of the season, but claimed the win. Grover’s 1-0 on the year. Pacer starter Ryan Milewski pitched the first eight innings of the game, fanning eight.

Stephen Tarkenton led the Patriots in their loss with two hits.

One of four pitchers on the day for the Patriots, Brandon Stoots (0-1) suffered the loss in the game for Francis Marion.

Senior right-handed pitcher Gary Ashcraft started for Francis marion. He allowed two runs on five hits in 51/3 innings. He fanned seven and didn’t issue a walk.

The USCA-Francis Marion three-game league series will conclude today with a doubleheader at Roberto Hernandez Stadium. The first game of the twinbill is scheduled for 1 p.m.

The Pacers will send left-handed pitcher Derek Beasley to the hill to open the doubleheader and Wyatt Brown is slated to start the nightcap.