The University of South Carolina Beaufort baseball team earned a doubleheader sweep over visiting Northwood (Fla.) to begin a critical three-game Sun Conference series Friday at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville.
The Sand Sharks rapped 17 hits in a 9-4 victory in the opener and used strong pitching and defense to nail down a 3-2 win in the nightcap, moving a game ahead of the Seahawks in the league standings.
Seven players contributed multiple hits for the Sand Sharks in the opener. Brandon Joyce led the outburst, going 4 for 5 with two RBIs, and Ryan Walker added two hits and two RBIs.
USCB starter Stephen Richards (2-0) breezed through four innings as the Sand Sharks staked him to a 4-0 lead. Northwood tagged the senior right-hander for four runs in the fifth -- the first earned runs he has allowed all season -- but Joyce put the Sand Sharks back on top with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
Richards pitched a scoreless sixth and recorded two outs in the seventh before getting into a jam. But Gage Roth came on and recorded a strikeout to strand two runners in scoring position and preserve the 5-4 lead. Roth worked two more scoreless frames for his third save.
In the second game, the Sand Sharks broke out in a big way in the sixth, as Jon Andrews launched his first career home run -- a two-run blast to left-center -- and JJ Crespo added an RBI single for a 3-1 advantage.
USCB starter Junior Delatorre (5-1) went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Jason Boulais got the final two outs for the save.
Crespo went 3 for 5 with an RBI in the leadoff spot and Andrews had two hits and two RBIs.
The teams wrap up the series with a single game at noon Saturday.