The USC Beaufort softball team suffered two tough losses Sunday at Thomas, falling 8-7 and 7-4 to the Night Hawks in Thomasville, Ga.
The Sand Sharks (35-9, 11-5 TSC) needed one win to claim a share of the Sun Conference regular-season title and two to earn the title outright, but they instead had to settle for the No. 2 seed in this week's conference tournament.
USCB appeared poised to claim at least a share of the crown when Alexandria Simmons belted a two-run home run in the seventh inning of the first game, giving the 14th-ranked Sand Sharks a 7-6 lead. But Thomas answered in the bottom of the frame, as Julia Cullinan smacked a two-run triple to left-center to score the tying and winning runs.
Junior Kristy Cook (13-6) went the distance and was tagged with the loss.
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Simmons' blast was the third of the game for USCB, which also got a solo shot from Sam Boland and a three-run blast from Mariaha Sanborn to dig out of a four-run hole and regain the lead.
Sanborn kept swinging a hot bat in the second game, as her RBI single in the first and two-run homer in the third gave USCB a 3-1 lead. The Night Hawks' offense also stayed hot, though, and Thomas scored a run in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth to take control.
Taylor Triplett hit a solo homer to right-center in the sixth to get the Sand Sharks within 7-4, and back-to-back two-out singles by Simmons and Marissa Becker brought Sanborn to the plate with a chance to tie it, but she couldn't deliver her third home run of the day.
Sophomore Ashlie Layman (16-1) suffered the first loss of her collegiate career, falling to 27-1 as a Sand Shark.
The Sand Sharks will open the Sun Conference Tournament on Thursday at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla.