SB: Bilenski’s gem gives Yeske first win at USCB

SB: Bilenski’s gem gives Yeske first win at USCB

Sierra Bilinski spun a complete-game shutout in USCB softball’s season opener, and the Sand Sharks hit three home runs in Codee Yeske’s head coaching debut Tuesday for a doubleheader split with NCAA Division II Anderson at Richard Gray Sports Complex. The Sand Sharks took the opener 2-0 behind Bilinski’s gem, but the Trojans bounced back to win the nightcap 10-5. 

After Bilinski escaped an early jam in the top of the first, the Sand Shark offense caught fire immediately. Sophomore Devon Weller attacked the first pitch she saw, and took it over the center-field fence for a solo home run before Francie Gaskin poked a single into right field to grab a 2-0 lead. 

The Trojans put two runners on in both the third and fourth innings, but a determined Bilinski continued to hold the visitors off the board. The two-run first-inning output was all the Sand Sharks needed, as Bilinski went the distance and pulled off a complete-game shutout to notch USCB’s first victory of the 2022 season and Yeske’s first win as head coach. 

Bilinski was sensational in the circle, scattering just three hits across seven innings while adding three strikeouts. Weller was 1-for-3 with a homer, and Gaskin added an RBI single. 

Anderson got its bats rolling in the second game of the day, chasing USCB starter Taylor Florea and scoring seven runs within the first three frames to race out to a 7-0 lead. The top of the Sand Shark lineup fought back in the third inning, as Weller cranked a triple to left and Daryn Miller reached on an infield single before Ashlyn Alte launched her first collegiate home run to cut the deficit to 7-3. 

Alte added another RBI on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly to keep USCB within four runs at 8-4, but Anderson quickly  tacked on two more runs in the sixth. Addie Reynolds sent a line-drive over the left-field fence for her first collegiate dinger before the Trojans set down the Sand Sharks to wrap up the 10-5 victory.

Weller had a tremendous day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and a triple while scoring a pair of runs. Alte notched a team-leading four RBI, and Miller put up a 2-for-4 game with a pair of singles.

USCB (1-1) is back in action at home Saturday in a doubleheader with Montreat.

By Wes Kerr / Photos by Bob Cragin

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