The University of South Carolina Beaufort softball team handed a pair of visiting teams their first losses of the season Saturday, beating St. Francis (Ind.) 16-8 and knocking off St. Ambrose (Iowa) 14-6 in the Smash Hit Softball Classic at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville, S.C.
The Sand Sharks (13-1) jumped on St. Francis early in their first game of the day, scoring four in the first and 10 in the second for a 14-0 lead. The Cougars clawed within 15-8, but Alexandria Simmons scampered home on a wild pitch to invoke the eight-run mercy rule.
Sophomore first baseman Maddie Byrd went 2 for 2 and blasted a two-run home run in the first that traveled an estimated 270-plus feet, sophomore center fielder Shelby Zipperer went 2 for 2 with a double, a triple and five RBIs. Junior shortstop C.J. Browder was 2 for 3 with two doubles and three RBIs, and junior second baseman Katie Rietkovich was 3 for 3 with an RBI and three runs scored.
Kristy Cook earned the win, striking out eight and allowing two runs on three hits over four innings.
The Sand Sharks had to rally to win their second game of the day, as St. Ambrose jumped out to a 6-1 lead through three innings. Byrd started USCB's comeback with her second home run of the day -- a solo blast in the fourth -- and Browder hit a two-run shot to right-center in a four-run fifth as the Sand Sharks tied it at 6.
Rietkovich broke the tie with a line-drive home run to center in the sixth, and Browder followed with a three-run blast later in the inning to make it 10-6. The Sand Sharks added four more in the in the seventh, including a pair on Browder's two-run double.
Browder finished the game with seven RBIs in the game, tying the single-game USCB record held by Rietkovich and Zipperer. Sophomore Taylor Triplett went 4 for 5 with an RBI.
Cook picked up her second win of the day with 4 2-3 innings of shutout relief, allowing one hit and striking out six.