USC Beaufort

Sand Shark softball team gets clean sweep at Ave Maria with two shutouts

The University of South Carolina Beaufort softball team opened Sun Conference play Friday with a pair of convincing victories in Florida, beating Ave Maria 11-0 and 4-0 behind dominant pitching from sophomores Kristy Cook and Caitlin Campbell.

Cook struck out five in a five-inning one-hitter in the opener to improve to 9-0. She had all the support she needed after one batter, as junior second baseman Katie Rietkovich led off the game with the first of her two home runs.

Rietkovich added a two-run blast in the second, and junior shortstop C.J. Browder hit a two-run shot in the fifth as the 16th-ranked Sand Sharks racked up 13 hits. Rietkovich was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and four RBIs, Browder was 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and sophomore catcher Amanda Brown went 2 for 2 with two RBIs and scored twice.

The bats didn't do as much damage in the second game, but Campbell didn't need much. The left-hander allowed seven hits and a walk while striking out five. Sophomore center fielder Shelby Zipperer helped preserve the shutout by throwing out a runner at home to end the fourth inning.

Browder and sophomore first baseman Maddie Byrd hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning to help spoil a strong outing by Ave Maria pitcher Beth Vaccarezza.

The Sand Sharks (20-2 overall, 2-0 Sun) continue their road trip Saturday with a doubleheader against Indiana Tech at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla.