The USC Beaufort baseball team did its part to tighten up the race for the Sun Conference title, finishing off a three-game sweep at Warner by winning both ends of a doubleheader Saturday in Lake Wales, Fla. The Sand Sharks won 2-0 behind a three-hitter from Adam Miller in the opener and rallied to win 6-4 in 10 innings in the second game.
The No. 22 Sand Sharks (31-14, 17-7 Sun) pulled within a half-game of No. 12 St. Thomas and No. 6 Embry-Riddle, who will play the final game of their three-game series today. St. Thomas has won the first two games of the series. USCB also clinched a spot in the six-team Sun Conference tournament May 1-5 at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
Miller (6-4) made sure the Sand Sharks clinched their third consecutive Sun Conference series win, tossing the fifth shutout of his USCB career. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth, when he stranded runners at second and third, then held the Royals (24-26, 10-13) hitless until the ninth. Miller struck out five and walked one.
Combined with Michael Heesch's shutout in the opening game of the series Friday, the Sand Sharks logged back-to-back shutouts for the first time in school history.
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The Sand Sharks did all their scoring early, getting unearned runs against Jeff Jacobsen in each of the first two innings. Conald Mansfield went 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Weldon Smith drove in the other USCB run.
Warner jumped out early in the first game, scoring three runs in the first and leading 4-1 through six innings. USCB rallied for three in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Dom Hayes and a two-run single by Weldon Smith.
The Sand Sharks scored two unearned runs in the 10th, and Andrew Barrineau (4-0) worked his fourth scoreless inning of the day to close out the sweep.
Smith and Hayes each had two RBIs in the final game.
The Sand Sharks travel to Central, S.C., to face Southern Wesleyan at 4 p.m. Tuesday, then close out the Sun Conference season with a three-game series at home against Webber International next weekend.