AIKEN, S.C. – Bill Gerstenslager blasted a two-run game-winning home run in the fifth inning and the nationally fifth-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken baseball team claimed its eighth straight win in a 4-3 non-conference victory over first-time foe Shorter on Wednesday afternoon at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
Down 3-1 to Shorter entering the bottom of the fifth, Sean Miller (Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding HS) kicked off the inning for USC Aiken (35-8) by singling to right field. He then advanced to second on a wild pitch.
With two outs on the board, Bryce Baur (Moncks Corner, S.C./Florence-Darlington Tech) then singled in Miller to pull the Pacers within one at 3-2. Gerstenslager (Solon, Ohio/Mercyhurst) then belted his sixth home run of the year to secure the Pacer victory.
USC Aiken out-hit Shorter (13-27), 9-7, in the game.
Tyler Moore (Evans, Ga./Evans HS) was the only Pacer to obtain multiple hits in the game as he was 2-for-4.
Walker Borneman led Shorter in its loss to USC Aiken with two hits and three RBIs.
Five Pacer pitchers saw the mound on Wednesday with Tyler Stephan (Louisville, Ky./Trinity HS) claiming the win on the hill in relief of starter Adrian Rivero (Alpharetta, Ga./USC Salkehatchie), who pitched the first four innings. Stephan is now 3-0 on the year.
Taylor Grover (North Augusta, S.C./Midland Valley HS) retired the side in order in the ninth inning to collect his ninth save of the season. Grover fanned two of the three batters he faced.
Shorter starter Russell Crosby (2-8) suffered the loss on the mound. Crosby struck out five, but allowed all four Pacer runs.
The Peach Belt Conference-leading Pacers will next close out their week by welcoming Columbus State to Roberto Hernandez Stadium for a three-game Peach Belt Conference series on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21. The series will begin with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 20. First pitch in game one of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The league series will close with a single 1 p.m. game on Sunday, April 21. Sunday's game will serve as Pack the Park and City of Aiken Baseball Day at the ‘Bert.
The weekend series against Columbus State will also serve as USC Aiken baseball Alumni Weekend.
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