USCB softball let another narrow contest slip away in a 2-1 defeat Monday, but the Sand Sharks battled back from a three-run deficit in the finale to salvage a 4-3 win and a road split in a Sun Conference doubleheader at Thomas.
The first three innings in game one were a tense battle on the mound between USCB ace Ally Muraskin and Thomas’ Rebecca Boesen. Muraskin was spectacular in the three opening frames, allowing no hits and striking out five batters.
Then the Sand Sharks broke through on the offensive end. Jaci Coleman started the fourth with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Devon Weller scored the freshman with a double to left field to take a 1-0 lead.
Thomas answered quickly in the bottom half, knotting the contest at 1 with an Addyson Mauldin double. USCB tried to pull off a two-out rally in the fifth with three straight singles to load the bases, but all three were stranded on the basepaths.
The Night Hawks cashed in on their opportunity in the home half, scoring a run off a wild pitch to take the 2-1 advantage. Bri Dunn cranked a double to left to give USCB an opportunity in the seventh to tie or take the lead with a pair of runners in scoring position, but the next two Sand Sharks were shut down to end the game.
Muraskin gave it her all on the mound again, throwing six innings and racking up an impressive 10 strikeouts. Dunn was fantastic at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double to pace the offense.
Thomas took control of the rematch in the third inning, posting three runs on the strength of RBI singles from Averie Sheppard, Kennedy Hardy, and Holly Campbell to go out front 3-0.
But the Sand Sharks didn’t quit. In the next inning, Ashlyn Alte and Weller responded with a pair of singles, and Jodi Hatcher ripped a double to right to plate two and cut the lead to one. Just one pitch later, Zinia Hampleton crushed a ground-rule double to left to tie the game at 3 before scoring on a wild pitch to snatch away a 4-3 lead.
Then Maria Molloseau turned it on and fed off USCB’s newfound momentum, setting down the Night Hawks in order in the fourth and fifth before posting a third straight scoreless frame in the sixth to finish off her outing. Muraskin made her return to the mound in the seventh and final inning, holding off a Thomas rally to capture a massive 4-3 road win.
Molloseau put together a solid start on the mound, throwing six innings and allowing just three runs while picking up a pair of strikeouts. Hampleton delivered for the Sand Sharks with a 2-for-3 contest while notching a double and RBI.
USCB (10-10, 2-4) plays its third road doubleheader in four days Tuesday at Middle Georgia State.
By Wes Kerr