WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The University of South Carolina Beaufort baseball team picked up two key Sun Conference victories Saturday, beating Northwood 6-3 in 10 innings and 8-5 in the first two games of a three-game series.
The Sand Sharks moved a game above .500 overall and jumped over Northwood for seventh place in the conference standings. USCB is a half-game behind sixth-place Thomas; the top six teams qualify for the Sun Conference tournament.
USCB (19-18 overall, 9-11 Sun) needed some late-inning magic to win the opener, as an error and a passed ball gave the Seahawks (24-19-1, 7-12) a runner at second with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. But Andrew Barrineau got out of the jam, eventually ending the threat with a foulout with the bases loaded to send it to extra innings.
The Sand Sharks broke it open in the 10th, loading the bases with one out before J.J. Crespo's sacrifice fly gave them the lead and Blake Cilwick's two-run single added a pair of insurance runs. Kyle McCullough mowed down the Seahawks in order in the 10th for the save.
Ashly Morris went 3 for 4 with an RBI, and Crespo and Cilwick each had two RBIs for USCB. Starter Miles Galvin didn't factor in the decision but turned in 6 2-3 strong innings, allowing two unearned runs on five hits. Barrineau gave up one run on two hits over 2 1-3 innings for the win.
The Sand Sharks again needed a late rally in the second game, and they again got outstanding work from the bullpen. After falling behind 3-1 on Noel Garcia's three-run homer in the third inning, USCB turned to sophomore Junior Delatorre, who held Northwood to two runs on three hits over 6 2-3 innings of relief.
USCB clawed back from the early deficit and took a 4-3 lead in the sixth, only to see the Seahawks regain the lead with two in the bottom of the inning. The Sand Sharks took control in the eighth, scoring three runs on Crespo's bases-loaded walk and Cilwick's two-run double.
The Sand Sharks tacked on Ryan Doeppel's sacrifice fly in the ninth, and Delatorre retired the last nine batters of the game.
Doeppel was 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs and Cilwick was 2 for 4 with two RBIs for USCB in the second game.
The series concludes with a game at 11 a.m. Sunday.