The USCB softball team made a major statement over the weekend, going 4-1 at the NFCA NAIA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga., with a pair of wins over top-10 teams.
After going 1-1 on Friday with a 7-2 win over Talladega (Ala.) and a 7-4 loss to No. 13 Ottawa (Kan.), the Sand Sharks swept three games Saturday. USCB opened the day with a 3-2 win over Georgetown (Ky.) before knocking off No. 8 William Carey (Miss.) 4-2 and upsetting No. 5 Brenau (Ga.) 5-3.
Against Talladega, Canyon Crosby gave up a two-run home run in the first inning before settling in and dominating the rest of the way for the win. Reigning Sun Conference Player of the Week Natassja Hatcher went 3-for-3, Kayla Boyle and Kaitlyn O’Hearn each had two hits and an RBI, and Alexa Moore hit a two-run homer to lead the USCB offense.
A five-run second inning was the Sand Sharks’ undoing against Ottawa, which handed Abby Pac her first loss of the season. O’Hearn had three hits, Hatcher and Taylor Boykin each had two hits and an RBI, and Kylie Kelly and Boyle added two hits apiece.
Kelly had a double and two RBIs, Boykin had two hits, and O’Hearn added an RBI in the win over Georgetown to open Saturday’s three-game schedule. Crosby was back in the circle to earn the win, allowing two runs (one earned) over five innings, and Maria Molloseau pitched two scoreless innings for the save.
Pac bounced back with a strong performance to beat William Carey, allowing two runs and striking out six in a complete game. The Sand Sharks rallied from an early 2-0 deficit and took the lead on Boykin’s two-run single in the fourth.
Haley Hawkins and Hatcher each hit solo homers in the finale against Brenau. Molloseau allowed three runs and struck out six in a complete game for the win.
The Sand Sharks (20-5) return home to host Coastal Georgia for a Sun Conference doubleheader at 3 p.m. Wednesday.