The USC Beaufort softball team has been no stranger to blowouts this season. That's to be expected in a first-year program.
Except it's USCB that's emerging on the other end of those victories.
The Sand Sharks picked up a pair of mercy-rule wins Wednesday in Hardeeville, sweeping a doubleheader from Edward Waters by scores of 15-0 and 10-0 in the final games of the season at the Richard Gray Sports Complex.
USCB has claimed 17 victories by way of mercy rule this season -- more than half of its 33 wins. The Sand Sharks' first eight games of the season came via five-inning affairs, as Ty Rietkovich's crew outscored the opposition 153-1 to start the year.
"I'm proud of us," freshman Chelsey Blasingame said. "We're a first-year team and nobody knew what to expect. But we believe in ourselves, that we can do anything against any team."
Wednesday's opener wasn't smooth sailing to start. The Tigers trailed by one through three innings before the Sand Sharks erupted with a 14-run fourth. USCB (33-8) sent 17 batters to the plate in the decisive frame, which was highlighted by a bases-clearing double by Melanie Goolsby and a two-run double by Katie Rietkovich, whose steal of home pushed USCB's lead to nine. Amanda Brown and Blasingame also added two-run singles for the Sand Sharks.
USCB picked up where it left off in game two, as the Sand Sharks broke out with a four-run first inning and cruised to victory. Mariaha Sanborn started the scoring binge with a two-run single before USCB padded the lead with a run on an error and a sacrifice fly from Maddie Byrd. Rietkovich and Sam Boland added homers.
"We look at every team as if they're our rival," Blasingame said. "Whoever they are, we're going to beat the crud out of them and try our best to win."
But the star of the finale was pitcher Kristy Cook, who recorded her fifth no-hitter and second perfect game of the season. The right-hander, who recorded 10 of her 15 outs via strikeout, lowered her season ERA to 1.76. The 17-game winner has allowed just two hits in her last 17 innings of work.
"I think it just shows that we don't play to the level of the team we play," she said. "We play to our ability and our standards. We have to get ahead as much as we can and we don't let up until we're done."
The Sand Sharks conclude the regular season with a three-game set at SCAD Savannah this weekend. USCB can earn the No. 2 seed in the Sun Conference tournament with a series victory.
Edward Waters 000 00 -- 0 2 3
USCB 001 (14)X -- 15 9 0
WP: Caroline Pastre (7-5) 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K.
LP: Eleisha Castro 4 IP, 9 H, 15 R, 15 ER, 8 BB, 1 K.
Top hitters -- Edward Waters: Jasmine Jackson 1 for 2; Jazzmon Solomon 1 for 2. USCB -- Chelsey Blasingame 2 for 2, 3 R, 2 RBI; Melanie Goolsby 1 for 2, 2 R, 3 RBI; Katie Rietkovich 1 for 2, 2 RBI; Mariaha Sanborn 2 for 2, 2 R.
Edward Waters 000 00 -- 0 0 3
USCB 442 0X -- 10 9 0
WP: Kristy Cook (17-3) 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K.
LP: Stephanie Epstein 2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K.
Top hitters -- Edward Waters: None. USCB -- Sammi Shaffren 2 for 3, 2 R; Katie Rietkovich 1 for 3, HR, 2 R, RBI; Mariaha Sanborn 2 for 3, 2 R, 2 RBI; Sam Boland 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBI.