USCB’s baseball squad was outmatched on the diamond Sunday, dropping both games of a Sun Conference home doubleheader with No. 4 St. Thomas 14-2 and 11-4.
USCB fell into a deep hole in the first contest, as the Bobcats took advantage of a pair of errors and got two hits off of ace Matt Malatesta in the first to grab an early 4-0 lead. The Sand Sharks started to chip away, picking up a run in both the first and second innings with a Leandy Castro single and TK Kennedy double both bringing a runner home.
Malatesta found his groove after a rocky first, surrendering just two hits over innings two through five. But the Bobcat offense exploded for five runs in the sixth, one in the seventh, and four more in the eighth to blow it open, as the visitors finished off USCB in an eight-inning run-rule decision.
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The nationally-ranked squad took the early advantage again in game two, scoring a trio of runs in the first two frames to take a 3-0 lead. The Sand Sharks struck back quickly in the second, as Kyran Russ and Tavaris Terrell both singled to set up a Daniel Searles bases-clearing double, trimming the lead to 3-2.
Just an inning later, the red-hot Castro clobbered a solo leadoff home run, knotting the contest at three. But the Bobcats responded with a run in the fifth and took full control with a four-run sixth inning to build a commanding 8-3 lead. Clint Sellers drilled an RBI-double to center to cut the lead to 8-4, but the Sand Sharks couldn’t draw any closer.
Terrell led the USCB offense in the doubleheader, going an impressive 4-for-8 with a pair of doubles. Malatesta was strong again on the mound in game one, tossing five innings without an earned run while picking up eight strikeouts. Eamonn Collins was tremendous in relief during game two, pitching three innings and allowing no walks and just one hit while striking out four Bobcats.
The Sand Sharks were plagued by miscues all day long, committing a combined 11 errors in the two games.
USCB (6-6, 2-3) looks to salvage the series finale with St. Thomas on Monday at 11:30 a.m.
By Wes Kerr