The adage is that a tie is like kissing your sister. If that's true, a doubleheader split isn't much better.
The USC Beaufort baseball team opened the 2013 season Saturday at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville with a split with Shawnee State. The Sand Sharks dropped Game 1, 5-4, in nine innings but bounced back to take the second one, 4-2.
"Overall, today was very disappointing. I'm very frustrated," USC Beaufort head coach Bryan Lewallyn said. "We didn't play well, and a big issue was communication. I thought we got a little better in the second game."
The Sand Sharks' struggles were evident early in the first game, when a wild pitch allowed the Bears' second run of the first inning to score. The Sand Sharks strung together four straight singles in the bottom half of the frame to cut the lead to 2-1.
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But more miscues -- including a passed ball on a third strike, a wild pitch and a pop-up that dropped in fair territory directly in front of home plate -- allowed the Bears to get the run back in the top of the second.
"I think we threw the ball pretty well," Lewallyn said. "But it's tough when you don't make the routine plays. It's tough as a pitcher to get into any kind of rhythm."
When Blake Cilwick blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the second, it looked like the Sand Sharks would settle down. But their bats just went away. USC Beaufort managed just one hit -- Ashly Morris' third-inning single -- the rest of the game.
Shawnee State eventually tied and won the game with single runs in the seventh and ninth.
Senior first baseman Erik Armstrong -- the Sand Sharks' only returning starter from the 2012 NAIA World Series squad -- pushed the team to a win in Game 2, going 3 for 3 with three RBIs, including a game-tying two-run single in the fourth and an RBI double in the sixth.
But despite Armstrong's strong game, the Sand Sharks' offensive story was one of missed opportunities. In Game 2, USC Beaufort stranded 10 runners in seven innings. The Sand Sharks left 17 on base for the day.
"We struck out too many times while looking at good pitches," Lewallyn said. "We gave away some at-bats. We'll eventually get it figured out. But right now the lineup is a work in progress."
Junior Delatorre (1-0), a sophomore out of Beaufort High School, earned the win in Game 2 -- the first of his career -- while Andrew Barrineau threw two scoreless frames for the Sand Sharks' first save of the season.
Shawnee State 5, USC Beaufort 4 (9 innings)
Shawnee St. 210 000 101 -- 5 8 0
USCB 130 000 000 -- 4 6 0
W: Williams (1-0). L: Richards (0-1).
2B: Keim. 3B: Sluberski. HR: Cilwick (1). SB: Suydam, Hightchew, Andrews.
USC Beaufort 4, Shawnee State 2
Shawnee State 200 000 0 -- 2 6 2
USCB 000 301 x -- 4 7 2
W: Delatorre (1-0). L: Strayer (0-1). Sv.: Barrineau (1).
2B: Sluberski, Armstrong. 3B: Spires. SB: Thompson, Payne.
Records: USC Beaufort (1-1), Shawnee State (1-1).
NEXT: Shawnee State (1-1) at USC Beaufort (1-1)
When: Sunday, Noon, doubleheader
Where: Richard Gray Sports Complex, Hardeeville