USCB softball split a pair of contests in its third road doubleheader in four days, picking up a 5-3 win over Middle Georgia State before dropping the finale 5-4 on Tuesday.
The Sand Sharks found the scoreboard first in the second inning of game one, sending home a run on an Amber Locasto pinch-hit walk with the bases loaded to take a 1-0 lead. Middle Georgia responded with a run of its own in the bottom half as Emma Raulerson scored Logan Blizzard to tie the game at 1.
USCB retook the lead in the third inning with a Jodi Hatcher RBI single and a Zinia Hampleton run-scoring walk to go up 3-1, but the Knights got one back in the bottom of the fourth as Blizzard crossed the plate on a bases-loaded hit by pitch before USCB’s Devon Weller smacked a two-RBI double to right-center in the top of the sixth to increase the lead to three.
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Middle Georgia made it a 5-3 game in the bottom half with a Makinsey Long sacrifice fly, but Sierra Bilinski stranded a runner on base before making quick work of the Knights in the seventh to finish off the complete-game win.
The freshman Bilinski put together a strong performance to anchor the Sand Sharks, striking out four batters and allowing just a pair of runs and walks in the contest. Jodi Hatcher led the offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Weller added a double and drove in two.
Both teams exchanged a pair of runs to start the nightcap, as USCB scored two in the first with another double from the red-hot Weller before MGA evened the score in the bottom half. The Knights took control in the second inning, scoring another three runs to go out in front 5-2.
USCB began to chip away in the third, as Kaleigh Furbush crossed home plate via a Middle Georgia error to cut the deficit to 5-3. The Sand Sharks continued to battle, scoring another run in the sixth on a timely two-out hit from Ashlyn Alte to score Hoolie Garcia and make it a one-run game.
USCB was in business to start the seventh with singles from Furbush and Weller with no outs, and Hampleton laid down a successful sacrifice to move the go-ahead run over to second. But a flyout and groundout spoiled the shot for a comeback win, giving the Knights the 5-4 victory.
Caitlin Toole displayed an incredible effort on the mound, throwing a brilliant 4 2-3 innings and allowing just two hits with no runs or walks. Weller, Furbush, and Alte paced the Sand Sharks with a pair of hits each.
USCB (11-11, 2-4) returns home Thursday for a key Sun Conference doubleheader with St. Thomas.
By Wes Kerr