Lancers Sweep Ranked Opponent on the RoadThe first game of the series was quite the pitching duel early on as Harrison Smith toed the rubber for the Lancers. Smith, a first year player, was sensational in his first game striking out nine and not allowing a run. The Lancaster defense made several plays behind him allowing Smith to pitch aggressively and confidently throughout his outing. “It makes it a lot easier to pitch when you know the guys behind you are going to make plays to help you out”, Smith added. Trey Sowell entered the game in the sixth, making several big pitches to wiggle out of a jam before the Lancers started a rally of their own in the top half of the seventh inning. RBI singles from Tyler Ackard and Thomas Scott pushed Cross Holfert and Evan Edwards across the plate to give the Lancers a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Thomas DuRant came on to close out the first game of the season and record his first save of the year with a fist bump as he walked off the mound to join his teammates in celebration. Although pitching and defense highlighted Game 1, the second game of the series was not the same story. Sophomore 1B Evan Edwards turned on an inside fastball putting it over the right center wall to give the Lancers an early 1-0 lead. Two innings later, freshman catcher Nick Cicci stroked a liner over the outstretched arm of the CVCC centerfielder plating two runs, extending the Lancer lead to 3-0. After Catawba Valley responded with two runs in the home half of the third inning, Evan Edwards once again delivers to the tune of a three run homerun to left center making the score 6-2. Lancers would go on to stretch the lead to 9-2 after a clutch two run single by outfielder Thomas Scott. Brandon Justice, starting pitcher, found his rhythm going six innings while only allowing two runs and notching his first win of the 2017 season. Mike Perez came on to close out the game for Lancaster as CVCC was attempting to rally in the home half of the seventh. The Lancers faced an early deficit for the first time of the year after two homeruns from Catawba Valley in the bottom of the first inning. However, USCL responded by leveling the score at two in the third inning. In the top half of the fourth inning, Samuel Blalock set the table with a leadoff double. Walt Ballentine follows a batter later with a RBI single. Jared Williams, who hit .600 this weekend, drove Ballentine in from second with a double to left center. Edwards would make his way to the plate again delivering in a big way with a two run blast making the lead 6-2 for your Lancers. After a tough opening inning, sophomore right hander Kipp Rollings established his presence over the course of the game with a dominant outing allowing Lancaster to relax and just play baseball. In the top of the sixth inning, Edwards would again extend the lead with his fourth homerun of the series to solidify the Lancers’ third win in as many games. As Game 4 rolled around on Sunday afternoon, all the momentum was in Lancaster’s dugout and they showed no sign of letting up. David Dunlavey was relieved by freshman Brock Robinson after going four and two thirds innings allowing one earned run and striking out nine Catawba Valley hitters. Cicci, Ballentine, and Williams once again got in on the action at the plate, all delivering RBI hits to quickly extend the Lancaster lead to 6-0 in the third inning. However, Edwards had no plans of slowing down at the plate as he blasted his fifth homerun of the weekend with a 2 run shot to deep right center to push the lead to 8-0 in favor of USCL. Freshman UTL Aaron Harper decided to join Edwards in the home run column as he connected for a solo homerun in the fifth inning, extending the Lancaster lead to 9-0. The Lancers would go on to finish off the Red Hawks with a 9-2 win. Read more.
2017 Lancers Baseball Preview“We need to focus on being steady at being steady.” Those words have resonated with any Steve Williams coached Lancaster ball club during his 9 year tenure at the helm of the program. Williams has high hopes for the year, adding, “We have a chance to be special, but we need to remember the best four letter word in the English language, work.” After posting a 38-21 mark a year ago, USC-L baseball feels there is more in the tank for the 2017 campaign. Having come up short in the Region X championship last season, first baseman Evan Edwards and fellow returners are anxious to make another post season run. Edwards, returning region RBI leader and NC State commit, feels strongly about the upcoming season; "The way our season ended last year has led to more motivation both at practice and in the weight room this year.” USC-L is also returning last year’s Region X leader in stolen bases Walt Ballentine, who states, “We have the pieces to make a solid run, but everyone needs to do their part and come together as a family.” Returner Cordes Baker gears up for his second season on the mound for the Lancers. After Baker posted outstanding numbers as a freshman, he went on to pitch for the Upper Valley Nighthawks in the New England Collegiate Summer League, logging 41 innings and striking out 26 opponents. Although the Lancers are returning a solid staff from 2016, including RHP Brandon Justice and local products Kipp Rollings (RHP) and Trey Sowell (LHP), the program has made big additions in the off-season to improve the staff for 2017. Notable additions include right-handed transfers David Dunlavey (Wofford College) and Harrison Smith (University of South Carolina). After taking a redshirt during the 2016 season, Thomas DuRant has put himself in a position to be a big time arm from the left side. Sophomore transfer Jared Williams (University of South Carolina) had a very impressive fall with the bat and is expected to have a breakthrough year for the Lancers. USC-L is also looking for impact seasons out of redshirt sophomore Samuel Blalock (INF), and sophomores Tyler Ackard (OF/1B), Evan Flynn (UTL) and Tyler Baker (INF). Incoming freshmen will have plenty of opportunities to contribute this year as position battles will continue throughout the early part of the season. USC-L opens up the year on January 28 in Hickory, North Carolina with a four-game set against Catawba Valley Community College. USC-L will then host back to back series as Southeastern Community College (February 4-5) and Brunswick Community College (February 11-12) make trips to Doomsday Corner. The Lancers will have multiple midweek contests throughout the year including home games on February 15 and February 22 against Limestone College JV and Belmont Abbey JV. USC-L will take a trip down to Florence, SC on February 18-19 to play in the prestigious Pepsi Invitational. The last three non-conference opponents include Patrick Henry Community College (February 25-26), Wake Technical College (March 4-5), and Monroe College (March 18). USC-L will make a first time trip to Emerson, Georgia where the Lancers will face Georgia Highlands College on March 10-12. Familiar opponents Pitt Community College and Guilford Technical College moved to NJCAA Division II, there will be no metting with either school this season. The last series in March features a battle against longtime opponent Florence Darlington Technical College, a big weekend for both teams with recent meetings being very competitive. The Lancers will have back to back home meetings against USC-Sumter (April 1-2) and USC-Salkahatchie (April 8-9) before traveling to Louisburg College (April 14-15) for a four game set and the last road series of the season. The sophomores will take to their home field for their last time on April 22-23rd as the Pioneers from Spartanburg Methodist make the trek to Doomsday Corner. The Region X Tournament is scheduled for May 6-10 in Burlington, North Carolina, the home field of minor league club Burlington Royals. The Eastern District Championship is slated for May 19-21 at the Region X Champion’s home field. The winner will then travel to Grand Junction, Colorado to represent the Eastern District in the 2017 NJCAA Division I World Series. Read more.
Lancers Sweep USC Salkehatchie in Baseball
The USC Lancaster Lancers Baseball Team earned four region wins as they swept the Indians of USC Salkehatchie. The Lancers won the first game on Saturday 13 to 1 as Linc Powell earned his sixth win of the spring. He went five innings on the bump and struck out seven batters and scattered two hits. The Lancers were led at the plate by Evan Edwards as he had a single and a homerun while driving in four runs. Ryan Knowles had three hits and Christian Cain added two hits . Jonathon Sabo, Ryan Mason, Tyler Ackard, and Tyrie Blalock each had a hit. The second game on Saturday saw the Lancers win 13 to 1. Freshman Cordes Baker got the nod to start and he went five innings while striking out nine and allowing one run. Jonathon Sabo added a homerun while driving in three runs as did Ryan Mason with his two hits. Knowles contributed a hit as did Edwards, Cain, and Ackard. Tyler Baker added two hits in the winning cause. Read more.
Lancers Split with Guilford Technical Community CollegeThe USC Lancaster Lancers Baseball Team took two wins from Guilford Technical Community College over the weekend. The Lancers won the first game on Saturday by a score of 13 to 3. Linc Powell went five innings while scattering four hits and striking out nine to earn his fifth win of the spring. The Lancers were led at the plate by Walt Ballentine as he had two hits which plated four Lancers and Evan Edwards had two hits including a homerun while driving in three. Christian Cain chipped in two hits, Ryan Mason added a hit, and Tyler baker drove in two runs on two hits which included his first homerun of the spring. Lukas Ray and Dakota Fitts also had a hit in the game. The second game on Saturday was a 12 to 8 loss for the Lancers. Daniel Willcutt, Trey Sowell, Brandon Justice, and Jeremiah Garcia worked the seven inning game on the mound. Evan Edwards led the Lancers hitting attack as he had three hits including a homerun which drove in two runs. Tyler Baker also had two hits while driving in a run. Mason had two hits and Ballentine, Cain, and Fenway Parks had a hit. Samuel Blalock drove in a run as well as Ryan Rickey and Tyler Ackard. Sunday's first game ended in a loss for the Lancers as the score was 7 to 3. Kipp Rollings and Evan "Buckshot" Flynn shared time on the mound in the second game. Mason, Cain, and Blalock had a hit a piece. Tyler Baker had three hits in the game including a double while Parks and Ackard had a run batted in. The last game on Sunday saw Cordes Baker on the mound as he went five innings and earning the 10 to 0 win for the Lancers. He struck out eight batters and allowed two hits. the guys were led at the plate by Mason who had two hits while driving in a run. Evan Edwards had a homerun that drove in two Lancers and Cain had a hit that drove in two runs. Tyler baker added a run batted in as did Ackard, Flynn, and Blalock. The Lancers travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina on Friday and Saturday to take on Region X foe Spartanburg Methodist College. Read more.
Lancers Sweep Surry Community College