Heading into the final home game of the regular season, the USC Aiken baseball team received it’s highest ranking of the season.
The Pacers (37-9, 21-6 Peach Belt Conference) are third in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II Poll. The ranking is USCA’s highest since being tabbed second in the May 4, 2009 poll. The Pacers were last ranked third in 2012, and their highest ranking ever was No. 1, which it was twice during the 1993 campaign.
The Pacers have now been ranked in 29 straight national polls. Mount Olive is currently No. 1 team and Delta State is just ahead of the Pacers in second.
They’ll take the high rating into tonight’s game against PBC rival Augusta State (10-33, 3-21). The game is the finale of the annual Outback Cup series and first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
USCA won this season’s first Outback Cup game in extra innings. The Pacers prevailed 4-1 in 10 innings on March 27 and are 8-1 all-time in Outback Cup games.
In a regular PBC series against the Jaguars that counted toward the conference standings, USCA swept three games in the first week of April. The Pacers prevailed 7-1, 7-3 and 6-4 in the three-game set at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
Weekend starters Derek Beasley and Wyatt Brown both had impressive starts in wins over Augusta State in that series. The Jaguars are struggling mightily, having lost 16 games in a row.
Tonight’s second game of the Outback Cup will serve as Senior Day for the Pacers, who have won 10 of their past 11 games. USCA closed out last week by taking two out of three games from PBC foe Columbus State. The dominating series-clinching 19-4 win on Sunday moved the PBC-leading Pacers to within one conference victory from an outright regular-season league championship.
USCA has won 10 of its 12 three-game series this season (Lincoln Memorial, Carson-Newman, Shepherd, Francis Marion, Flagler, Young Harris, North Georgia, Augusta State, Lander and Columbus State). The Pacers swept seven of those series and have won all of its home three-game series in this season.
Following tonight’s game, USCA will close the regular season with a three-game series on the road at Georgia Southwestern on Saturday and Sunday.