An eight-day layoff did nothing to cool the USC Beaufort softball team's bats -- and especially not leadoff hitter Katie Rietkovich's.
The junior second baseman hit three home runs -- including a grand slam -- and racked up seven RBIs in a doubleheader sweep, as the 21st-ranked Sand Sharks beat Edward Waters 11-0 and 6-1 on Monday at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville.
Rietkovich led off the bottom of the first with a home run in each game, but she saved her biggest bomb for the second inning of the nightcap, launching a grand slam over the second fence some 30 feet beyond the outfield barrier to snap a 1-1 tie.
The leadoff shot down the left-field line in Game 1 proved to be all the support the Sand Sharks' pitching staff needed. Freshman Ashlie Layman (2-0) struck out six and allowed four hits over four scoreless innings for the win, and sophomore Kristy Cook struck out two in a perfect fifth to finish off the mercy-rule victory.
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Maddie Byrd went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and three RBIs in the opener, and Taylor Triplett was 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Freshman Missy Hughes made the start in center field and went 3 for 3 and scored three runs.
The Tigers bounced right back in Game 2, answering Rietkovich's leadoff homer with a run in the second to tie it at 1. The grand slam doused any hope of an upset, though, and sophomore Caitlin Campbell (3-0) struck out six over four scoreless innings of relief for the win.
Rietkovich is the second USCB player to hit two home runs in one game, joining Taylor Triplett, who did it last season against Walsh.
In four games since moving into the leadoff spot, Rietkovich is 9 for 13 with 10 RBIs and seven runs scored.
The Sand Sharks (8-0) will make a road trip to Georgia this weekend, facing Truett-McConnell in a doubleheader Friday and playing a doubleheader Saturday with Emmanuel.