CLERMONT, Fla. -- The University of South Carolina Beaufort softball team remained in the driver's seat at the Sun Conference tournament, as the top-seeded Sand Sharks beat No. 4 seed Thomas, 8-2, on Thursday.
Mariaha Sanborn blasted a two-run home run and Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year Kristy Cook struck out nine in a six-inning complete game. The game was called after six innings because of heavy rain that made the field unplayable.
The Sand Sharks struck first with an unearned run in the first, but the Night Hawks rallied for two in the third to take the lead.
It didn't take long for USCB to reclaim the momentum, though, as the Sand Sharks scored five runs in the bottom of the inning to take control. Taylor Triplett's RBI single tied it at 2, and C.J. Browder followed with a run-scoring triple to put USCB ahead. After Maddie Byrd's sacrifice fly, Sanborn blasted a two-run shot to left to cap the big inning.
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That was more than enough support for Cook (20-0), who shut down the Night Hawks the rest of the way. She retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth, and stranded two runners in the sixth.
Browder, the Sun Conference Player of the Year, went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs, and Sanborn was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and scored a run. Shelby Zipperer went 3 for 4 and scored twice, and Byrd was 1 for 3 with two RBIs.
The 10th-ranked Sand Sharks advance to face No. 7 seed St. Thomas at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The winner will advance to Saturday's championship game. The Bobcats upset No. 2 seed Webber International and No. 3 seed Southeastern on Thursday.