The Sun Conference title bid may have come up just short, but Ted Falkner is well on his way to building a special baseball program at USCB. After USCB knocked off No.2 Southeastern for the second time this season in the tourney opener, the Fire stormed right back, beating the Sand Sharks 9-1 and 16-4 on Sunday in West Palm Beach, Florida, to claim the 2021 conference crown.
Southeastern got the offense rolling in a hurry to start game one, racking up five unanswered runs in the first two innings to race out to a 5-0 lead. USCB got on the scoreboard in the top of the third, as Kyran Russ drove in Brian Meyer to cut the deficit to four. The Fire quickly responded in the home half, adding two runs in the frame before tacking on another pair in the fifth. The Sand Sharks couldn’t push enough runners across the plate, leaving 11 runners on base in the 9-1 defeat.
Daniel Searles led the offense in the first championship contest, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles while Russ added his team’s only RBI.
Needing just one more win to seal the championship, Southeastern wasted no time in the decisive game two, rattling off 13 runs in the first six innings. USCB scored its first runs of the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth, as Russ smacked a double down the left-field line to plate a pair. The Fire added three more to finish off an impressive 23-hit performance, but USCB kept battling until the end, scoring one on a Meyer RBI double in the ninth before Brock Thibodeaux crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Meyer capped off a stellar tournament with another big game, finishing 2-for-4 with an RBI. Russ drove in a pair of runs while Leandy Castro and Mathew Morgan collected a pair of hits each.
USCB (31-21) awaits its NAIA postseason fate Thursday.
By Wes Kerr