USCB baseball pulled off another miraculous comeback Saturday, rallying past Thomas 13-12 on the road to salvage the series finale after dropping the first two contests 5-4 and 9-7.
The Night Hawks struck early in the opening game Friday, plating two runs in the bottom of the second with RBI tallies from Jacob Paterson and Rodwell Munoz. Thomas added on to the lead with a run in the third and fourth innings to go up 4-0, but Tim Wood put the Sand Sharks on the board with a solo blast in the top of the fifth. Brad Toxen got the run right back for Thomas in the bottom of the sixth, doubling home Jayson Zmejkoski to restore the four-run advantage.
USCB sparked a late rally in the eighth inning, scoring two on an RBI-groundout and a Tavaris Terrell run-scoring triple to cut the lead in half. After Payton MacPherson held the Night Hawks off the board in the bottom half, Clint Sellers smacked a two-out triple in the ninth to score Wood and make it 5-4 with the tying run at third. But Jorge Meran was able to retire the ensuing batter on a flyout, ending the comeback effort a run short.
Tim Wood led the strong offensive output, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer. Clint Sellers and Tavaris Terrell both collected two hits with a triple and an RBI each.
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Thomas struck first once again in the rematch Friday, as Turner Maddox crossed the plate on an RBI-groundout to give his side a 1-0 second-inning lead. USCB responded quickly in the top of the third with another clutch hit by Sellers after a Justin Owen stolen base to even the game at 1.
The Night Hawks retook the advantage with a four-run fourth headlined by a two-RBI double by Bradley Fleenor to grab a 5-1 lead. After both teams traded a pair of runs in the sixth, Thomas extended the advantage to 9-3 in the seventh inning. The Sand Sharks once again displayed a valiant fight with four combined runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 9-7 defeat.
Sellers was tremendous at the plate again, putting up a 2-for-5 game along with a pair of RBI. Griffin Cassell delivered a strong performance out of the bullpen, throwing a scoreless eighth inning to keep the Sand Sharks in striking distance.
Looking to avoid the sweep, the Sand Sharks got the offense rolling early in game three Saturday, rattling off six runs in the second inning highlighted by a Sellers two-RBI double followed by a two-run homer by Alexander Humphrey to race out to a 6-0 lead.
Thomas found the scoreboard in the bottom of the third plating two runs, but USCB struck back in the fourth with another Humphrey RBI to go up 7-2. The Night Hawks found their groove as the game went on, and erased the large deficit with nine unanswered runs to grab an 11-7 lead going into the eighth. But the Sand Sharks didn’t want to leave Thomasville empty-handed. Sellers, Humphrey, and Kyran Russ started the top of the ninth to load the bases and start the big rally.
Terrell and Wesley Ambrose both walked in a run to cut the lead to just two, and Nick Milhan reached on an error to score three and give USCB the 12-11 lead. Leandy Castro tacked on what would prove to be a massive insurance run, driving home Milhan on an RBI-single to cap off a stunning six-run frame. Brad Toxen looked to respond with a two-out home run to cut the deficit to one, but Micah Krieghauser forced a groundout to finish off a tremendous comeback victory.
Humphrey put together another monster performance, going 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI while Sellers and Castro joined the junior with three hits each. Krieghauser notched the win on the mound with an excellent two innings, allowing just one run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts to spark the Sand Shark comeback.
USCB (19-14, 6-9) welcomes No. 2 Southeastern to Richard Gray Stadium for a three-game Sun Conference series starting Friday.
By Wes Kerr