Senior outfielder Ryan Doeppel dumped an RBI single into right field to plate pinch-runner Mitchell Stewart with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the University of South Carolina Beaufort opened its three-game Sun Conference baseball series against Warner with a 9-8 victory Friday at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville.
The Sand Sharks (22-20 overall, 12-13 Sun) watched a six-run lead evaporate in the seventh and eighth innings, as Warner (20-31, 6-19) came all the way back to tie it at 8, but Doeppel's third hit of the day lifted USCB to a key victory that bolstered its hopes of securing the sixth and final spot in the conference postseason tournament.
J.J. Crespo and Doeppel each finished 3 for 5 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Andrew Barrineau (5-1) came on to record the final out in the eighth and stranded the go-ahead run at second base in the ninth to earn the win.
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USCB starter Miles Galvin did not factor in the decision because of Warner's rally in the late innings, but he pitched well, allowing four runs -- one earned -- over seven innings with five strikeouts.
All four of Warner's runs in the eighth were unearned.
USCB moved a half-game ahead of Thomas for the No. 6 spot in the Sun Conference standings. The Night Hawks were scheduled to play at St. Thomas on Friday night.
The Sand Sharks and Royals are set to conclude the series with a doubleheader at noon today.