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Ard Headed to Aiken

USC Aiken Pacer baseball teams adds eight to program.

USC Aiken baseball head coach Kenny Thomas announced the signings of eight players Thursday. Robert Ard, Collin Beasley, Erik Davis, Ryan Hunt, Joseph Marlow, Brad Taylor, Zachary Trombley and Ben Utley signed to continue their academic and athletic careers at USCA beginning in the Fall of 2014.

“What a great class we were able to get this fall,” Thomas said. “We went after what we thought to be our needs with the idea of getting the best players we could get and I feel like we got about as close to that goal as possible. Led by Coach Walck, the assistant coaches did a great job with many tireless hours put into this class. I know Pacer fans will enjoy seeing these guys when they arrive here at USC Aiken.”

Ard, a 6-foot tall catcher from Lynchburg attended East Clarendon H.S. and is currently at USC Salkehatchie. In high school, he was a two-time all-state and all-region selection. As a senior, he was the Offensive Player of the Year. During Ard’s junior campaign, he was tabbed the team MVP.

Beasley, a 6-1 pitcher from Harlem, Ga., went 3-1 on the mound as a junior. He’s the younger brother of Derek, who’s currently a pitcher for the Pacers.

Davis, a 6-2 pitcher/designated hitter from Black Creek, Ga., attended Savannah Christian Prep School before enrolling at Georgia Perimeter College. While at GPC, he hit .370 and belted three home runs. In high school, he batted .350 and had an OPS of 1.200 while guiding his team to a conference championship. Davis earned all-region honors and was the team MVP.

Hunt, a 5-10 middle infielder from Glen Burnie, Md., attends Archbishop Spalding H.S. He posted a .392 average as a sophomore with 13 RBI and 10 runs scored. Hunt drove in 15 runs and scored 18 during his junior campaign.

Marlow’s a 6-5 pitcher from Kennesaw, Ga., where he attended Kennesaw Mountain H.S., where he was a three-time MVP. He picked up all-region and all-county accolades twice. As a junior, he batted .425 with eight homers and 52 RBI while going 8-2 on the mound. As a senior, he was 9-2. In one season at GPC, Marlow recorded 22 innings of work with a 0.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts.

Taylor’s a 6-4 right-handed pitcher from Fitzgerald, Ga. and attended Fitzgerald H.S., where he amassed a 47-12 record over and registered 382 strikeouts.

He was a three-time all-state selection and a four-year all-region honoree and was tabbed the Region Pitcher of the Year as a junior. He’s coming to USCA after a stint at GPC.

Trombley’s a 6-0 infielder from Broomfield, Colo., where he attends Holy Family H.S. As a junior, he totaled a .464 batting average with a .544 OBP and a .788 slugging percentage. Trombley drove in 35 runs and had 16 extra-base hits en route to being a first-team all-state selection. Trombley guided his team to a state championship.

Utley’s a 6-1 third-baseman and pitcher from Lawrenceville, Ga., that attends Mountain View H.S. As a junior, Utley batted .335 and carried a .475 on-base percentage. He was tabbed the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player.

“Three JUCO pitchers and a high school pitcher set the tone for the class,” said Thomas, who will lead the Pacers in their season opener on Feb. 1 at home against Lincoln Memorial. “We got a JUCO catcher and two very talented high school infielders (Hunt & Utley). We feel like Utley has a chance to be a two-way player with great stuff on the mound. We also continue to go to Colorado and get solid hitters.”

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