USCB softball head coach Bailey Wigness was looking for a signature win to build momentum going into Sun Conference play, and her Sand Sharks delivered on Friday, taking down No. 6 Georgia Gwinnett in a convincing 7-1 victory before falling to Rio Grande 4-1 in a doubleheader played in Lawrenceville, Ga.
USCB got the offense rolling early against the sixth-ranked Grizzlies, as Jaci Coleman ripped a clutch two-out, two-RBI single to left center to take a 2-0 first-inning lead. Georgia Gwinnett trimmed the lead in half in the third with a Sydney Pelaez run-scoring hit, but Ally Muraskin came to the mound in relief and limited the damage with the bases loaded.
The Sand Sharks fed off Muraskin’s strong performance and caught fire on offense in the fourth, exploding for five runs. After USCB loaded the bases, Bri Dunn came up huge with a bases-clearing three-RBI double and Shania Domingue followed it up with a two-run homer to grab a commanding 7-1 advantage. Muraskin finished the job in the final four frames to knock off the nationally-ranked Grizzlies.
The fantastic pitching duo of Maria Molloseau and Muraskin shined for the Sand Sharks in the massive win. Molloseau limited the Grizzlies to just one run in the first 2 1-3 innings, and Muraskin got it done the rest of the way, striking out eight and allowing no runs in a spectacular performance. Dunn was tremendous at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI, and Domingue dealt the final blow on offense with a two-run dinger.
The Sand Sharks hoped to carry over the same energy into the second game of the day against Rio Grande, but the RedStorm grabbed a two-run lead in the third off an error and groundout. USCB battled back in the bottom half with a laser-like RBI double by Francie Gaskin to cut the lead to 2-1 before Rio Grande extended the advantage to 4-1 with a pair of runs in the fifth.
The Sand Sharks had a chance to rally in the bottom half, but Dunn was left stranded in scoring position to keep the three-run lead intact. Rio Grande held off USCB the rest of the way to deny the Sand Sharks the two-game sweep.
Muraskin came in again in the nightcap and continued her stellar day, pitching 2 2-3 innings while allowing no runs on just one hit and setting down two on strikes. Dunn picked up right where she left off in game one, posting a 2-for-3 game with a double.
USCB (7-5) plays its fifth and sixth games in three days Saturday, traveling to Truett McConnell for an afternoon twinbill.
By Wes Kerr