Great things are expected from USC Aiken's baseball team this season. And why not? The Pacers finished last season 40-19 and ranked No. 12 in the country.
The squad returns seven of nine starters and eight of their top nine hitters. When the preseason rankings were released last week, the Pacers were ranked No. 8 in the nation.
The team will feature several Columbia County products. Most notable is senior catcher Robert Davis.
The former Greenbrier star hit .389 last season with six homers and 61 RBI. He also led the team with 24 doubles and a .446 slugging percentage. The 5-11, 215-pounder should be primed for a huge senior season.
Also back is relief ace Nick Wandless. Like Davis, Wandless played at Greenbrier, and like Davis, he is coming off a terrific junior campaign. Wandless was 4-1 on the mound with an impressive 1.25 ERA last season. He also had 41 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched.
Pacer head coach Kenny Thomas just hopes to get the ball to Wandless with a lead as many times as he can this season. If he is able to do that frequently, USC Aiken will be just fine.
In addition, the Pacers also return Nick Wandless' younger brother, Scott. Scott enters his sophomore season hoping to build on a freshman year that saw him post a 1-0 mark on the mound with a 1.50 ERA in limited duty.
He will also try to improve on his disappointing .185 batting average at the plate.
Joining the three former Greenbrier standouts will be three newcomers from Columbia County. A pair of former Evans stars join the Pacer program this season. Tim Steflik, a 6-foot, 175-pound pitcher, will fight for innings as a hurler (most likely out of the bullpen), and 5-10, 180-pound third baseman Kenny Raborn will try to get some at-bats..
USC Aken also added another Greenbrier player to the mix as 6-0, 165-pound outfielder Brad Ramsbotham will suit up for the Pacers.
Like Raborn, Ramsbotham will try to get playing time in a loaded outfield.
The Pacers also have former Evans and Georgia Southern star Michael Holder in the dugout again this season. Holder enters his third season as an assistant coach at USC Aiken.
So, good luck to the Pacers this season.
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