USC Aiken enters season motivated by lack of national recognition

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — A new baseball season in the CSRA begins Friday with both Augusta University and USC Aiken hosting their season openers.

The Pacers are coming off back-to-back 40 win seasons and a fourth trip to the NCAA tournament in the past five years, but despite several key players returning, the Pacers aren’t receiving as much national attention as they are accustomed to. They enter the year ranked No. 34, according to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, and were selected to finish fourth in the Peach Belt Conference.

“I’ve heard [our players] whispering a little,” USC Aiken head coach, Kenny Thomas, said. “I even heard one the other day say ‘I’m glad we’re not ranked high this year.’ It gets to a point where you expect it, but this year we didn’t get that, so we have a little more to prove.”

“I think it gives us an opportunity to show people what we can do,” senior first baseman, Brian Parreria, said. “I’m excited to see what we can do. I think we have a shot at winning a national title, and that’s everyone’s goal, so we’re all on the same page.”

The Pacers open their season with a three-game series against Lincoln Memorial. First pitch for Friday’s game is set for 4:00 p.m.

Augusta’s season opener against West Georgia is set for a 3:00 p.m. first pitch at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

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