FORT MYERS, Fla. -- USC Beaufort's preparation for the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round next week at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville will begin earlier than expected.
The No. 2 seed Sand Sharks were knocked out of the Sun Conference tournament Wednesday after suffering a tough 3-1 loss to top-seeded Embry-Riddle.
The Sand Sharks got a strong performance from senior left-hander Adam Miller (8-5), who limited the sixth-ranked Eagles to three runs -- two earned -- on five hits over eight innings, and Andrew Barrineau pitched a perfect ninth, but USCB couldn't muster much support.
Embry-Riddle right-hander Adam Paulencu (7-2) kept the 13th-ranked Sand Sharks at bay for eight innings, allowing only one run on eight hits while striking out seven.
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USCB (35-16) threatened in the seventh, but Gabe Torres was cut down at the plate by center fielder Frankie Arias while trying to score on R.J. Neal's single up the middle.
The Sand Sharks finally broke through on Conald Mansfield's RBI triple to score Keenan Ivey in the eighth, but Mansfield was stranded at third.
USCB had runners at first and second with no outs in the ninth against reliever Chad Modomo, but Modomo got the lead runner on Keifer Youmans' sacrifice bunt attempt, and the Eagles (39-15) turned a game-ending double play to stay alive in the tournament.
Neal went 3 for 4 and Dylan Nasiatka was 2 for 4 to lead USCB, which now awaits the release of the qualifiers and opening round assignments for the NAIA National Championship Opening Round.
The Sand Sharks will be one of five teams playing in Hardeeville from May 10-14. The winner of the double-elimination tournament will advance to the Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.