Close But Not Quite Against No. 3 USC Aiken
AMERICUS - Georgia Southwestern came up just short in a pair of games against No. 3 USC Aiken at Hurricane Stadium on Friday afternoon. The Hurricanes lost Game 1, 3-2 in 11 innings, and dropped a 4-3 decision in the nightcap.
Southwestern falls to 15-30 overall and 5-21 in the Peach Belt. USC Aiken improved to 40-9 overall and clinched the PBC regular-season title with a 23-6 mark in conference play.
The series wraps up Saturday at noon.
GAME 1: GSW 2, USC AIKEN 3 (11 innings)
There was no question that he "left it all on the field" in his final collegiate start as GSW senior pitcher Frank Ambrosino came up one out short of an upset in Game 1. Ambrosino, the Hurricanes starter, turned in a nine-inning effort, but with two outs in the ninth and a 2-1 lead, USCA's Tyler Moore tripled to left center and scored moments later on a Sean Miller single.
Ambrosino faced the minimum on three occasions after allowing a run in the first inning.
Southwestern grabbed the lead in the sixth after John Duran and Randall Sheffield opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Both players eventually scored on a Stephen Eldridge single through the left side.
Moore struck again for USCA in the 11th when he ripped a solo home run down the left-field line. It was his first home run of the season.
Duran, Sheffield, Eldridge and Coffey all finished with two hits apiece for GSW.
Moore, Miller and Branden Millhouse each had three hits for USCA.
Ambrosino finished with two walks and four strikeouts. Bray Bishop (3-3) pitched the final two innings for the Hurricanes.
Danny Wissman (4-0) picked up the win in two innings of relief. Taylor Grover earned his 11th save with a scoreless 11th inning for the Pacers.
GAME 2: GSW 3, USC AIKEN 4
The Hurricanes came up on the losing end in Game 2 despite holding USCA to only four hits. But it was the fact that the Pacers had scored four runs while collecting only one hit that was even more perplexing for GSW fans.
USCA scored a run in the first without a hit, added two runs in the fourth after a leadoff double and pushed across its final run in the sixth without a hit.
Eldridge tied the ballgame at 1-1 in the second inning when he singled to center to score Sheffield. Eldridge tallied another RBI in the sixth with a single that plated Josh Sanders. Jarrod Taylor brought around the Hurricanes' final run moments later with a RBI single that scored Sheffield.
Sheffield led all batters with a 3-for-4 performance in the nightcap that included a double. Eldridge added two hits and a pair of RBIs.
The Pacers did not have a batter with multiple hits.
Matthew Suggs (4-7) pitched eight innings before making way for Drew Cataldo. Suggs allowed four runs - two earned - and three hits while walking one. A pair of wild pitches and a passed ball proved costly. Cataldo tossed a scoreless ninth.
USCA starter Wyatt Brown (6-3) threw six innings, allowed three runs and eight hits while walking one and striking out five. Zach Hayden, Jake Padgett and Caleb Smith each threw a scoreless frame with Smith earning his first save.