A 14-hit performance wasn’t enough for USC Beaufort to finish off a comeback attempt in the first game of Saturday’s baseball doubleheader against St. Thomas, as the Sand Sharks wound up losing both ends to drop two of three in their key Sun Conference series.
Brandon Valentin shut the door on the Sand Sharks in the eighth inning of a 9-7 St. Thomas victory in the opener, and the Bobcats took advantage of eight USCB errors to cruise 16-2 in the nightcap. That allowed St. Thomas to move back ahead of USCB for fourth place in the league standings.
Brandon Joyce banged out four hits and Thomas Estopare homered among his three hits to lead the Sand Sharks in the opener, when they kept battling after falling behind 7-2 midway through the fifth inning.
USCB plated single runs in the fifth and sixth, only to be countered by St. Thomas a half-inning later. The Sand Sharks finally made a dent in the deficit with three runs in the eighth, keyed by RBI singles from Mclean Hartz and Kal Davis.
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That was as far as the Sand Sharks would come, though, as Valentin came on to pitch out of the jam and retired USCB without a threat in the ninth.
USCB managed just five hits in the nightcap, though the focus was on defensive mistakes. Miscues helped St. Thomas to a four-run third inning, five-run fourth and three-run fifth.