Ally Muraskin dazzled in USCB’s Sun Conference softball opener, powering her squad to a 4-3 win over Coastal Georgia on Wednesday before the Sand Sharks dropped the rematch 9-3.
Neither team could find the scoresheet in the first two innings, but USCB took the advantage in the bottom of the third as Rachel Frankhouser’s walk set up a Zinia Hampleton inside-the-park home run to open up a 2-0 lead.
The Mariners battled back to even the game, scoring a run on a one-out single in the fourth and tacking on another in the fifth via a Bryce Peacock RBI triple to knot the contest at 2. USCB retook the lead with a run-scoring hit by Bri Dunn but lost it right back in the sixth after a throwing error to even the game again.
The Sand Sharks responded again in the home half, as Kaleigh Furbush knocked in an RBI single to go up 4-3 before Muraskin shut it down in the seventh, finishing off a stellar complete-game performance and leading her team to a massive conference-opening win.
The Florida International transfer was dialed in all game long for the Sand Sharks, striking out eight batters and minimizing the damage in key situations to pick up the victory. Hampleton came up big with a 2-for-3 game along with two RBIs, and leadoff hitter Devon Weller went a strong 2-for-4.
USCB carried the momentum right into game two, going out in front 3-0 in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Amber Locasto and Frankhouser connected on RBI singles before a third runner scored on a Mariner error to grow the lead to three.
But the visitors came storming back, scoring one in the fourth and then taking control with a four-run fifth. Coastal Georgia kept the offense rolling with a pair in the sixth and seventh to blow it open at 9-3, and the Sand Shark offense was unable to answer the red-hot Mariners.
Francie Gaskin led USCB in the nightcap, going 2-for-4 in the defeat.
USCB (9-7, 1-1) plays its first Sun Conference road series of the year at Webber International on Saturday.
By Wes Kerr