The University of South Carolina Beaufort softball team handed a pair of visiting teams their first losses of the season Saturday, beating St. Francis (Ind.) 16-8 and knocking off St. Ambrose (Iowa) 14-6 in the Smash Hit Softball Classic at Richard Gray Sports Complex in Hardeeville, S.C.
The Sand Sharks (13-1) jumped on St. Francis early in their first game of the day, scoring four in the first and 10 in the second for a 14-0 lead. The Cougars clawed within 15-8, but Alexandria Simmons scampered home on a wild pitch to invoke the eight-run mercy rule.
Sophomore first baseman Maddie Byrd went 2 for 2 and blasted a two-run home run in the first that traveled an estimated 270-plus feet, sophomore center fielder Shelby Zipperer went 2 for 2 with a double, a triple and five RBIs. Junior shortstop C.J. Browder was 2 for 3 with two doubles and three RBIs, and junior second baseman Katie Rietkovich was 3 for 3 with an RBI and three runs scored.
Kristy Cook earned the win, striking out eight and allowing two runs on three hits over four innings.
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The Sand Sharks had to rally to win their second game of the day, as St. Ambrose jumped out to a 6-1 lead through three innings. Byrd started USCB's comeback with her second home run of the day -- a solo blast in the fourth -- and Browder hit a two-run shot to right-center in a four-run fifth as the Sand Sharks tied it at 6.
Rietkovich broke the tie with a line-drive home run to center in the sixth, and Browder followed with a three-run blast later in the inning to make it 10-6. The Sand Sharks added four more in the in the seventh, including a pair on Browder's two-run double.
Browder finished the game with seven RBIs in the game, tying the single-game USCB record held by Rietkovich and Zipperer. Sophomore Taylor Triplett went 4 for 5 with an RBI.
Cook picked up her second win of the day with 4 2-3 innings of shutout relief, allowing one hit and striking out six.