AIKEN, S.C. – After USC Aiken began the game with eight runs in the top of the first inning, Anderson University baseball was unable to inch back into the game, falling 14-3 Wednesday evening in a nonconference showdown at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
With the setback, the Trojans have dropped three straight contests and fall to 11-22 overall, while the Pacers improve to 22-7 for the year.
Three Trojans tallied a double for the evening, as sophomore first baseman Steven Cooper went 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI, while senior catcher Ben Pendleton also recorded two hits with a run scored. Junior shortstop Brett Cash notched AU’s other extra-base hit, closing the evening 1-for-2 and driving in a run.
Anderson’s counterpart, USC Aiken, notched six extra-base hits, highlighted by three home runs, as the Pacer trio of Kody Belcher, Tyler Moore and Grayson Smith all hit Trojan pitches over the wall en route to the victory. Moore also totaled one of two Pacer doubles, joining TJ Costen in the category.
After AU went down in order to begin the game, the home side began the game with four straight hits, including triples from Moore and Costen and a double by Ty Barkell. Belcher capped off the scoring spree with a three-run home run, handing the Pacers a convincing eight-run lead after the first inning.
USC Aiken added another run in the third before the Trojans found the scoreboard for the first time in the top of the fourth inning. After Cooper provided a one-out double down the right field line, Cash traded places with the first baseman with his own double, as the visitors cut into the Pacer advantage.
After USC Aiken crossed two more runs in the fifth, the Trojans scored one more in the top of the sixth when senior outfielder Josh Hickman knocked a sharp single, plating classmate Nathan Galliford. The RBI was Hickman’s 26th of the season.
Anderson tallied its final run of the evening in the ninth when Cooper singled through the right side, scoring Pendleton. Cooper now has a hit in five straight games and has recorded an RBI in six of his last seven contests. For the year, Cooper is hitting .359 with a .431 on-base percentage and slugging .609.
The Trojans return to South Atlantic Conference play on Friday, beginning a three-game series with Brevard on Friday. The set begins with a 3 p.m. start on Friday, followed by a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon.