The University of South Carolina Beaufort baseball team pulled off one late-inning rally but fell short in a second comeback effort Saturday, as the Sand Sharks split a doubleheader with visiting Georgia Gwinnett College at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville.
Freshman Brandon Joyce delivered a game-ending RBI single for a 7-6 win in the first game, as USCB rallied from a 5-0 deficit, but the Sand Sharks left the tying run at the plate in a 12-8 loss in the nightcap to allow the Grizzlies to salvage the final game of the three-game series.
The Sand Sharks (8-10) fell behind early in the opener, as Georgia Gwinnett (9-5) struck for four runs in the first inning against right-hander Hunter Englehart and tacked on another in the fifth.
USCB stormed back in the fifth, scoring five runs against reliever Joe Albertson. Joyce got the Sand Sharks on the board with an RBI single, Blake Cilwick followed with a two-run single, Terry McClinton added an RBI single, and Mitchell Johnson tied it with a sacrifice fly.
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The Grizzlies got an unearned run in the sixth, but Cilwick's RBI single in the bottom of the inning tied it. Joyce came through with the winning hit in the seventh, slicing a single into right-center field against closer Austin Smith (0-2) to score Ryan Doeppel with the winning run.
Senior Kyle McCullough (2-1) allowed an unearned run on two hits over two innings of relief for the win. Joyce was 3 for 5 with two RBIs, and Cilwick was 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
Georgia Gwinnett scored four runs in the first inning of the second game, and then broke it open with a six-run fifth inning to take a 12-2 lead.
A two-out error helped USCB score four runs in the fifth inning, and the Sand Sharks added single runs in the sixth and seventh to get within four. USCB had the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate when Smith struck out Erik Armstrong to end the game.
Armstrong went 4 for 5 with two RBIs in the finale, and J.J. Crespo was 3 for 3 with and RBI.
The Sand Sharks wrap up their long homestand with a doubleheader against Voorhees College at 2 p.m. Tuesday, then hit the road for a Sun Conference series at Florida Memorial on March 8-9.