HARDEEVILLE -- Their coaches and teammates put hours of planning and preparation into ensuring Senior Day would be a special occasion for University of South Carolina Beaufort softball stars Melanie Goolsby and Alexandria Simmons.
But they never could have orchestrated what actually happened.
Minutes after the Senior Day ceremony honoring them, Goolsby and Simmons both hit first-inning home runs in the second game of a doubleheader against Northwood (Fla.), helping the 15th-ranked Sand Sharks sweep the visiting Seahawks and run their winning streak to 10 games.
Taylor Triplett hit her Sun Conference-leading ninth home run and Kristy Cook went the distance in the circle as USCB won the opener 4-2, and Goolsby knocked in three runs in support of Ashlie Layman in a 7-3 win in the finale.
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The Sand Sharks (29-5, 7-1 Sun) maintained their spot atop the Sun Conference standings with the sweep, remaining in a virtual tie with Embry-Riddle for the top spot. USCB holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Eagles.
Northwood outhit USCB 11-3 in the first game, but the Sand Sharks made the most of their opportunities. Trailing 1-0, Amanda Brown recorded the first USCB hit with an RBI single to left to tie it, and Goolsby was hit with a pitch later in the inning to force home the go-ahead run.
Triplett drove a two-run homer out to left in the third, and Cook (12-3) made it stand up from there. The Seahawks pushed across a run in the sixth but left the bases loaded and Cook pitched around a two-out double in the seventh and ended it with her seventh strikeout.
After an emotional ceremony between games, USCB's two seniors wasted no time getting the Sand Sharks going in the finale. Goolsby hammered a shot to left field to lead off the inning and Simmons followed two batters later with a blast to left.
Missy Hughes added an RBI single in the second and Triplett had a run-scoring single in the fifth to make it 4-0, and Layman (12-0) was cruising along. The sophomore right-hander didn't allow a hit until Sara Aylesworth beat out a dribbler in front of the plate with one out in the sixth.
The Seahawks' first hit sparked a rally, though, as they plated three runs and had the tying run at third with just one out before Layman induced a foulout and a strikeout to end the threat.
USCB restored the four-run cushion in the bottom of the sixth, as Hughes doubled in a run and Goolsby added a two-run single -- all with two outs -- for a 7-3 lead. Layman rebounded to pitch a perfect seventh, striking out two to improve to 23-0 in her career.
The Sand Sharks are back in action Sunday, hosting St. Thomas for another Sun Conference doubleheader at 1 p.m.