The University of South Carolina Beaufort softball team surpassed last season's win total Saturday as the 10th-ranked Sand Sharks wrapped up the regular season with a doubleheader split against Southeastern at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville.
USCB had its program-best 14-game winning streak snapped in an 8-7 loss in the opener but bounced back for a 5-0 win in the nightcap to finish the regular season with a 38-4 mark. The Sand Sharks went 14-2 in Sun Conference play to claim the regular-season title and will begin the conference tournament as the top seed Thursday at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla.
The Sand Sharks grabbed an early lead in the first game on junior shortstop CJ Browder's two-run homer in the first, but the Fire (25-18, 9-7 Sun) scored six runs in the second to build what proved to be an insurmountable lead.
USCB chipped away and pulled within 8-7 with a four-run fifth inning, but the Sand Sharks left seven runners on base over the final three innings and were unable to push across the tying run.
Never miss a local story.
Sophomore Sammi Shaffren went 3 for 4 with an RBI and sophomore Mariaha Sanborn was 1 for 3 with two RBIs. Browder drove in three runs.
The Sand Sharks struck first again in the second game, as sophomore Maddie Byrd's three-run home run to right field and Sanborn's RBI single staked ace Kristy Cook to a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
Sophomore Shelby Zipperer added an RBI on a slash bunt single in the fifth, and Cook (18-0) made the runs stand up by shutting out the Fire on five hits.
The Fire threatened in the fifth, but Shaffren laid out for an inning-ending catch in shallow center to strand two runners, and they loaded the bases in the seventh before another flyout to Shaffren in left ended the threat.
The Sand Sharks will receive a first-round bye in the Sun Conference tournament and will see their first action in the tournament at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against the No. 4 or No. 5 seed.