No. 14 Pacers hosting lowly Hurricanes

USC Aiken third baseman JJ Loker

Georgia Southwestern at No. 14 USC Aiken Location Roberto Hernandez Stadium Schedule Game 1: Today, 6 p.m. Game 2: Saturday, 1 p.m. Game 3: Sunday, 4 p.m. The basics USC Aiken, ranked No. 14 in the country, is 16-6 overall and 7-5 in Peach Belt Conference play, after dropping two games in a three-game set with Columbus State last weekend - the two losses coming by a total of two runs. The Pacers are tied with Francis Marion (17-9, 7-5 PBC) for third in the PBC East Division and are within striking distance of Lander (7-2) and Flagler (6-3), the two teams at the top. Georgia Southwestern (4-19, 2-9 PBC) is fifth in the six-team PBC West, ahead of only Augusta State (1-11). North Georgia is in fourth in that division at 3-6, while Montevallo leads at 8-4. The top four teams in each division will advance to the PBC Tournament May 9-13 at Golden Park in Columbus, Ga. Keys to the series Pitching - If the Hurricanes hope to stay competitive against the Pacers, they're going to have to have some pitchers step up their game. GSW is next-to last in the PBC with a 6.48 team ERA, and they'll be facing a USCA squad with a .337 batting average that's second-best in the league. The Pacers, meanwhile, have the best ERA in the PBC, and those numbers should get better against a GSW team hitting just .214 on the season. Players to watch USCA Tyler Bourdo - The senior second baseman is first on the team and ninth in the PBC with a .395 batting average. His four home runs also lead the team and rank eighth in the league. He's swinging a hot bat with six hits, three runs scored and four RBIs in the last four games. Will Tankersley - The freshman outfielder has been part of an outfield rotation, but he's made the most of his opportunities. In 52 at-bats, he has seven doubles, two home runs and is hitting .365. His .615 slugging percentage is one of the best on the team. Georgia Southwestern Michel Coffey - The junior outfielder is far and away the team's best hitter. His .304 average, 17 RBIs, six doubles and three home runs are all team bests. Gabby Ramirez - The junior catcher has a .256 batting average and has driven in nine runs. Strikeouts, though, have been a problem, has he has K'd 21 times in 67 at-bats. On the hill USCA will go with a weekend rotation of Wyatt Brown, Ryan Milewski and Derek Beasley. Brown (5-0), a junior right-handed transfer from Middle Georgia, leads the PBC with a 1.35 ERA and is tied for the league lead with five wins. He's struck out 34 while walking just six. Milewski, another junior right-hander, has also been strong this season. He's 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA. Beasley, the lone lefty in the group, is 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA. The sophomore has 34 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. The Pacers also have some solid options out of the bullpen. Freshman Sam Daniel and sophomore Taylor Peed have combined to pitch 16 1/3 inning with just one earned run between them. Jake Padgett, who leads the team with three saves, has a 1.93 ERA in 9 1/3 innings. Matthew Suggs, a sophomore lefty from Leesburg, Ga., has been the Hurricanes' ace. He's 1-4 with a 3.71 ERA. He's struck out 27 in 34 innings, while walking seven. After that, GSW has some problems. Matt Weaver is likely to get one of the starts this weekend, but the senior left-hander has allowed 26 runs in 30 innings this season. He's also walked 14, the highest number on the team. Junior Frank Ambrisino and senior Trent Franzago are the possibilities for the third start. Ambrosino is 0-1 in five starts with a 6.35 ERA, while Franzago is 0-5 in six starts with a 9.21 ERA.