Baseball: USC Beaufort drops series opener vs. Thomas

sports@islandpacket.comMarch 15, 2014 

The USC Beaufort baseball team suffered a tough loss in the opener of a three-game Sun Conference series against visiting Thomas (Ga.) on Friday in Hardeeville, falling 14-11 in 10 innings.

The Sand Sharks twice rallied from deficits -- once to regain the lead and once to tie it at 10 in the eighth inning -- before the Night Hawks pushed across four runs in the top of the 10th to claim a contest that saw the teams combine for 25 runs and 36 hits.

USCB (12-11, 5-5 TSC) scored four runs in the first only to see the Night Hawks rally for a 5-4 lead. The Sand Sharks scored three in the fifth to regain the lead, but Thomas plated five in the seventh to go ahead 10-7. USCB got one back in the seventh and tied it with two in the eighth but couldn't muster the winning run in the ninth.

The Night Hawks scored the go-ahead run on a botched squeeze play in the 10th. Andrew Crane failed to get the bunt down and the Sand Sharks had Chris Kitlas hung up between third and home, but USCB was called for obstruction during the run-down and Kitlas was awarded home. Thomas went on to score three more runs in the inning, as USCB answered only with Erik Armstrong's solo home run -- his school-record 12th career homer -- in the bottom of the inning.

Ashly Morris went 4-for-6 and scored three runs and Brandon Joyce was 2-for-6 with three RBIs for USCB. Jon Andrews had two hits and two RBIs and JJ Crespo and Korey Ahrens each added two hits.

Damon Jackson went 4-for-6 with four RBIs for Thomas, including an RBI double in the five-run seventh inning and a two-run double in the 10th. Crane added three hits and three RBIs and Austin Corbitt had three hits and knocked in two runs for the Night Hawks.

Gage Roth (2-3) was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs on 10 hits in four innings of relief. John Gainey (3-2) picked up the win for Thomas, giving up three runs -- one earned -- on five hits in 3 2/3 innings.

The series concludes with a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday.

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