USC Beaufort baseball season underway with doubleheader sweep in delayed opener

mmccombs@islandpacket.comFebruary 3, 2014 

The baseball season may have started a day late for USC Beaufort, but it couldn't have gone any better.

Behind outstanding pitching, the Sand Sharks swept a doubleheader against Fisher -- 12-0 and 2-1 -- on Saturday at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville to start the season 2-0.

"We didn't beat ourselves today," Sand Sharks coach Bryan Lewallyn said. "I was really pleased with the way the guys attacked the zone to day and competed."

In the first game, USCB backed up C.J. Kelly's (1-0) scoreless six innings with a 12-run barrage, fueled by 12 hits , five Falcons' errors and five walks.

In Game 2, the Sand Sharks saw that six scoreless innings from Beaufort's Junior Delatorre weren't wasted by scoring the go-ahead run on a walk-off grounder to first by catcher Alex Bonilla with two outs in the ninth.

Junior Gage Roth (1-0) took earned the win in relief in his USCB debut.

Altogether, the Sand Sharks pitching staff had a stellar 2014 debut, combining to throw 16 innings, allow just 15 baserunners -- 11 hits and four walks -- and surrender just one run.

"We limited the walks," Delatorre said. "That's a big thing in your first series. You're anxious, but the last thing you want to do is walk guys and give up free bases. We did a good job limiting the walks, and that's as good an opening weekend as you can ask for."

Blake Cilwick was the offensive star on the day for the Sand Sharks. He was a combined 5 for 8 with two doubles, three runs and three RBIs. His leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth ultimately resulted in the winning run.

After Erik Armstrong's eighth career sacrifice bunt moved Cilwick to third, the Falcons walked the bases loaded to put a force at any base. Cilwick beat the throw home on Bonilla's soft bouncer to first.

"One run in 16 innings and great defense behind the pitchers," Cilwick said. "Top to bottom, everybody just got it done today."

The Sand Sharks open Sun Conference play when they host Webber International for four games next weekend. The single game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday followed by a doubleheader at noon Saturday at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville.

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