BSB: Sand Sharks salvage split with gem from Malatesta

Matt Malatesta earned his second win in two starts, and USCB fought back after a 7-5 extra-inning loss to defeat St. Andrew’s  2-1 in a home doubleheader split Thursday afternoon. 

Leandy Castro opened the scoring in game one with a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the fourth to give USCB a 1-0 lead. But the Knights took control with a three-run fifth, as an early fielding error came back to haunt the Sand Sharks. Brian Bromley retired the next two batters, but a string of three straight hits including a pair of doubles plated a trio of runs.

USCB cut the deficit in half with a Daniel Searles RBI single in the fifth after Justin Owen stole second, and exploded for three in the sixth to take a 5-3 lead. Castro started the frame with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Wesley Ambrose. The junior from Rincon stole second, and scored on a single from Alexander Humphrey to knot the game at 3. Tavaris Terrell came up clutch with two outs, knocking in two runs on a double down the left-field line to put USCB up two.

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The Sand Sharks were an out away from victory in the top of the seventh, but a Greg Izzo double evened the game at 5 after Noah Lawson was hit by a pitch to load the tying run. Clint Sellers started the bottom half with a single, but USCB couldn’t bring him home, sending the contest to extra innings. After a scoreless eighth, Izzo came through once again in the ninth, driving in the go-ahead run before another crossed the plate on a fielding error. The Sand Sharks brought the tying run to the plate, but came up short in a tough series-opening loss.

Malatesta shined on the mound in the second contest, giving his squad six strong innings of work and recording five strikeouts on his way to a 2-1 victory.

After a scoreless first three innings, St. Andrew’s broke through in the fourth. J.R. Polak and Joshua Benfi collected a pair of hits, and Polak scored on a wild pitch after advancing from first to third on the Benfi single.

But the Sand Sharks responded right away in the bottom half, as a TK Kennedy double set up a Terrell RBI single to tie it at 1. The contest remained deadlocked through five, but the Sand Sharks came up big in the sixth to grab the lead. Jack Slavin started the frame with a walk, and a successful sacrifice bunt by Brian Meyer led to a fielding error off the bat of Terrell to score the go-ahead run.

The Knights put the winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but Griffin Cassell escaped the danger, recording three straight outs with runners on second and third to close out the win and pick up the save. 

Castro led the offense for the Sand Sharks in the doubleheader, going 3-for-6 with a home run and three walks. Terrell came through in the big moments, posting a 2-for-6 day with three RBI. 

USCB (2-2) will play two more against the Knights on Saturday in Laurinburg, NC for the back half of the home-and-home series. 

Written by Wes Kerr

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