GREENWOOD, S.C. – The nationally top-ranked/top-seeded University of South Carolina Aiken baseball team bowed out of the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Tournament with a 14-3 elimination game loss to No. 16/fifth-seeded UNC Pembroke on Thursday evening at Dolny Stadium.
USC Aiken (41-11) will now have to wait and see if it earns an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament. USC Aiken is currently ranked second in the latest Southeast Region rankings.
Six teams from the Southeast Region will receive an invitation to the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. An automatic bid is given to the winner of the Peach Belt Conference, the South Atlantic Conference and Conference Carolinas. The next three highest ranked teams will earn an at-large berth into the national tournament. The No. 1 team in the region entering the NCAA Tournament will host the Southeast Regional.
Two spots have already been claimed in the Southeast Regional. Region No. 5 Coker obtained one of the spots by winning the Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship.
Although not currently in the region rankings, South Atlantic Conference Tournament champion Lincoln Memorial will also be among the field of six.
The 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Selection Show is at 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 12 on NCAA.com.
USC Aiken opened its loss to UNC Pembroke (37-15) with Bryce Baur (Moncks Corner, S.C./Florence-Darlington Tech) blasting a home run off the scoreboard in the top of the first inning.
The 1-0 Pacer advantage would not last though with UNC Pembroke scoring the next nine runs to take a 9-1 advantage.
USC Aiken would plate two more on the long ball in the top of the sixth inning. Josh Miller (Chapin, S.C./Chapin HS) opened the scoring in the inning for USC Aiken when he belted a home run to left field. The home run allowed Miller, who now has five home runs on the year, to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.
Bill Gerstenslager (Solon, Ohio/Mercyhurst) then followed suit by collecting a dinger of his own. Gerstenslager now has seven home runs on the 2013 season.
The two runs in the top of the sixth would be the final runs the Pacers would be able to collect in the UNC Pembroke victory.
UNC Pembroke concluded its win over the Pacers with a 14-7 advantage in hits.
Branden Millhouse was the only Pacer with multiple hits as he was 2-for-3. He had a double in the contest.
Zade Denton led UNC Pembroke with four hits.
USC Aiken starting pitcher Wyatt Brown (Suwanee, Ga./Middle Georgia) dropped to 6-4 on the year with the loss on the hill. He pitched the first 4.2 innings.
UNC Pembroke pitcher Connor Pratt moved to 3-3 on the year with a complete-game win over the Pacers. He fanned five.
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