AVE MARIA, Fla. -- The University of South Carolina Beaufort baseball team saw its late rally fall short in a 4-3 loss Friday in the opener of a three-game Sun Conference series at Ave Maria.
The Sand Sharks (18-20, 8-14 Sun) wiped out most of a four-run deficit by scoring three times in the eighth, and they threatened again in the ninth before leaving the tying run at second base.
Senior right-hander Stephen Richards (2-1) gave the Sand Sharks a solid outing on the mound but made two costly mistakes, allowing a pair of home runs to Hunter McCarthy which accounted for all four Ave Maria runs. Richards was charged with four runs -- two earned -- on seven hits in an eight-inning complete game.
Blake Cilwick was 3 for 5 with an RBI to lead USCB's offense.
He reached on an error to push home a run in the eighth and roped a two-out double in the ninth to keep the Sand Sharks' hopes alive, but Ryan Walker's flyout to left ended the threat.
Joe Bocchino (2-9) picked up the win, allowing three runs -- one earned -- on seven hits over seven innings, and Austin Munn recorded the final out for the save.
The series concludes with a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday.