Both of our local colleges are off to great starts on the diamond this season. University of South Carolina Aiken is currently 12-3 and ranked 13th in the nation, while Augusta State is 13-5 and ranked 20th nationally.
Both teams' rosters are full of players from Columbia County, and those players are leading the charge for the Pacers and Jaguars in 2007.
Ben Dukes (ASU)
Dukes went 72/3 innings last week and limited Newberry to just six hits as he moved to 4-0 in four starts this season. Dukes has been one of the biggest surprises in the conference so far in 2007.
Alex Sickman (ASU)
Sickman began the year on the bench and got off to a slow start at the plate, but he has swung a hot bat this week.
In Augusta State's two victories this week, the former Evans standout was a combined 5-for-7 at the plate.
He was 2-for-3 with an RBI in the Jaguars' 2-0 win over Newberry, then he pounded out three hits in four at-bats as Augusta State rolled past Coker 14-1.
Jeremy Armstrong (ASU)
Like Sickman, Armstrong began the season on the bench, but he is making it hard for the coaches to keep him there. He is hitting .304 with six RBI in just six starts this season.
Ken Raborn (USC Aiken)
The former Evans Knight has become one of the Pacers' top power hitters in 2007.
Raborn has gone deep three times already and is hitting .333 with a slugging percentage of .578 and an amazing .508 on-base percentage, among the best in the country.
Ben Tankersley (USC Aiken)
Tankersley is a throwback-type player who just outworks his opponents, and this season he has become a consistent hitter for the Pacers. He is among the team leaders with a .358 batting average, 12 RBI and six stolen bases.
In USC Aiken's 18-3 win over Presbyterian earlier this week, Tankersley broke the game open with a three-run double in the fifth inning. He finished the game 2-for-5 with four RBI.
What made the day a little sweeter is the fact that he began his career at Presbyterian College as a football player before transferring to USC Aiken.
Scott Wandless (USC-Aiken)
Wandless started this year the way he left off last season - hot.
The junior lefty is 3-0 in four starts with an ERA of 3.86 and 32 strikeouts in just 23 innings.
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