The University of South Carolina Beaufort softball team swept Georgia Gwinnett, 6-0 and 11-4, on Wednsday in Hardeeville to run its winning streak to nine games, matching the longest in the team's brief history.
USCB sophomore right-hander Kristy Cook shut down the visitors in the opener. Cook (7-0) had a perfect game until Jordyn Fones led off the fifth inning with a bunt single. Cook ended up striking out four and allowing two hits in a complete game.
She has not allowed a run in her past three outings, spanning 19 innings, and has been the winning pitcher in four of USCB's last five games.
USCB entered the game leading the NAIA in runs scored per game (9.625), batting average (.409) and slugging percentage (.649), but Georgia Gwinnett's Ashley Beyke (1-7) limited the Sand Sharks somewhat in the opener.
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The 21st-ranked Sand Sharks (16-1) finished with eight hits -- seven of them singles -- but a two-out error helped USCB to a three-run second inning, and another error aided in the Sand Sharks' three-run fourth.
The offense did more damage in the second game, jumping on starter Tiffany Bailey for eight runs in the first two innings.
Alexandria Simmons did the most damage, delivering an RBI double in the three-run first and a two-run double in the five-run second. Mariaha Sanborn started the second with a home run to center, and Maddie Byrd had an RBI groundout in the first and an RBI double in the second.
That provided a big cushion for left-hander Caitlin Campbell (6-1), who held the Grizzles to one run on four hits and struck out four over four innings before giving way to freshman Ashlie Layman, who picked up her first collegiate save with three innings of effective relief.
The Grizzlies were able to avert the mercy rule with a pair of runs in the fifth and another in the sixth but never got closer than five runs.
C.J. Browder went 3 for 4 with an RBI and scored three runs in the nightcap. Simmons was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBIs, and Byrd was 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
The Sand Sharks wrap up the Smash Hit Softball Classic on Thursday, facing St. Ambrose (Iowa) at 1 p.m. and Brewton-Parker (Ga.) at 3 p.m. at the Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville.