From wire reports
HARDEEVILLE -- The University of South Carolina Beaufort softball team finished a perfect weekend of Sun Conference play with a hard-earned sweep of Embry-Riddle, winning 7-6 in 10 innings and 11-3 in five innings on Sunday at Richard Gray Sports Complex to maintain the top spot in the conference standings.
Coming off a huge sweep of defending conference champion Webber International on Saturday, the 17th-ranked Sand Sharks were guarded against a letdown against first-year program Embry-Riddle, and the Eagles provided quite a challenge in the opening game.
After C.J. Browder's two-run home run in the first inning and Maddie Byrd's RBI single in the third staked USCB starter Kristy Cook to a 3-0 lead, the Eagles tied it in the fourth on Dee Espinosa's bases-clearing double down the left-field line.
RBI singles from Taylor Triplett and Missy Hughes put the Sand Sharks back on top, but Embry-Riddle again rallied with two in the sixth to tie it at 5.
Espinosa struck again with a home run to left field in the top of the eighth, and the Sand Sharks were down to their final out in the bottom half when Browder's high fly ball to shallow center dropped in for a run-scoring single to keep them alive.
Left-hander Caitlin Campbell (7-3) came on to pitch two scoreless innings in relief, and catcher Amanda Brown picked off the go-ahead runner at third base in the top of the 10th to give USCB a chance to win it.
Junior Alexandria Simmons obliged with a single to left field, and pinch-runner Ashlie Layman raced home with the winning run just ahead of a throw to the plate.
Browder was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Taylor Triplett and Mariaha Sanborn each had three hits to pace USCB in the opener.
Having withstood the upset-minded Eagles' best shot in the opener, USCB jumped out early in the second game and led 6-0 through two innings. Embry-Riddle tried to mount a rally, scoring twice in the third, but USCB answered with a three-run third capped by Katie Rietkovich's home run for a 9-2 advantage.
Sam Boland's RBI single in the fifth ended the game early on the eight-run mercy rule.
Simmons was 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the second game to lead the offense. Rietkovich also had two RBIs, and Boland, Byrd, Mariaha Sanborn and Whitley Martin also drove in runs.
Layman (7-0) scattered 10 hits and allowed three runs -- one earned -- in a complete-game win.
The Sand Sharks face a key road trip next weekend, playing Sun Conference doubleheaders at Northwood at 1 p.m. Saturday and at St. Thomas at 1 p.m. Sunday.
BASEBALL TEAM POSTS ROAD SWEEP
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The USCB baseball team greatly improved its postseason prospects over the weekend, as the Sand Sharks finished off a three-game sweep of Northwood with a 7-4 victory Sunday.
The Sand Sharks (20-18, 10-11 TSC) moved a season-best two games above .500, and they climbed percentage points ahead of Thomas for sixth place in the conference standings. The top six teams qualify for the conference tournament.
After needing two late rallies in Saturday's doubleheader sweep, the Sand Sharks led from the outset in the finale. They jumped on Northwood starter J.D. Tyler for three runs in the first to give starter Matthew Graney an early cushion.
Graney turned in one of the best outings of his career, as he held the Seahawks hitless for four innings before giving up a run on four hits in the fifth, and Blake Cilwick's two-run homer in the sixth made it 6-1.
Northwood scratched back within 6-4, but Caleb Daniels worked two scoreless innings to stop the momentum and senior Kyle McCullough pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth for his second save of the series.
Cilwick was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs and J.J. Crespo was 2-for-4 and scored twice for USCB, which has won four straight to match its longest streak of the season.
WOMEN FOURTH AT GOLF MEET
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The USCB women's golf team shaved 10 shots off its opening round score and maintained its standing with a fourth-place finish at the Embry-Riddle Bash at the Beach.
The Sand Sharks posted a team score of 325 in Sunday's final round to finish the two-day event at 660. NCAA Division II Lynn University won the team title at 622.
Senior Phyllis Langley (82-80--162) was USCB's top finisher in 14th place, followed by junior Kendra Collins (83-84--167) and sophomore Tori DeGroodt (89-78--167) in a tie for 18th.
Sophomore Samantha O'Donnell (85-83--168) tied for 21st and senior Kelli Nakano (85-86--171) tied for 27th.
Up next for the Sand Sharks is the Sun Conference Championship, which USCB will host April 22-23 at Oldfield Golf Club.