They couldn’t buy a hit until the eighth inning, but the USCB Sand Sharks found the magic late Saturday to rally past Florida Memorial on the road and clinch their first Sun Conference series victory in nearly two years.
Leandy Castro broke a 1-1 tie with a two-RBI single in the eighth, and USCB escaped Miami Gardens with a 4-2 victory to take two of three in their opening series of the Sun Conference slate. It was the Sand Sharks’ first series win since April 5, 2019, after the majority of last season was wiped out.
Neither team could find a run through the first five innings, as USCB’s Payton MacPherson and FMU’s Juan Hernandez got the job done on the mound. But both squads finally dented the scoresheet in the sixth.
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Despite still searching for their first hit, Marino Sorbara capitalized off Lion fielding miscues, crossing the plate on a passed ball to give his team the lead. But the Sand Sharks gifted the run right back with an error in the bottom of the frame.
After escaping trouble in the seventh, USCB finally found the hit column, and the ever-reliable Castro came up clutch. Sorbara knocked in his squad’s first hit of the ballgame, and Wesley Ambrose reached via a throwing error to put two in scoring position. Castro did the rest, sending one through the left side with two outs to plate two and take control of the game.
The Lions didn’t quit, as Jalen Young cut the lead to one with a two-out hit of his own. But the Sand Sharks got it right back in the ninth, collecting a valuable insurance tally with a Daniel Searles sacrifice fly.
Florida Memorial brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Eamonn Collins delivered again, closing the door with a six-out save to send his team home with a huge Sun Conference series victory.
MacPherson picked up the win, throwing seven strong innings with just one earned run while recording seven strikeouts. The Sand Sharks only had four hits, but they made them count. Castro delivered in the big moment, driving in a pair of runs in his lone knock. The senior from New York leads the Sand Sharks with a .389 batting average, two homers, and nine RBIs through 10 games.
USCB (6-4, 2-1) returns home Tuesday to face off with St. Andrew’s at Richard Gray Sports Complex.
By Wes Kerr