SB: Sand Sharks sail to road sweep of Savannah State

USCB softball put on an impressive all-around display against NCAA Division II Savannah State on Tuesday, sweeping the Tigers on the road 15-0 and 3-1. 

The Sand Shark offense exploded for five runs in the top of the top of the first inning of game one, as Mackenzie Freeman followed up a Zinia Hampleton walk by smoking a bases-clearing double to drive in three runs before Francie Gaskin added a sacrifice fly. USCB added four more in the second including RBI-hits from Gaskin and Addie Reynolds to take a 9-0 lead. The scorching bats kept rolling, tacking on another in the third before plating five more in the fifth to make it 15-0. Sand Shark starting pitcher Caitlin Toole finished off a complete-game shutout in the bottom of the fifth to notch her first win of the season. 

Gaskin and Alyssa Smith each went 3-for-3 in the opening game, Hampleton and Harlee Walker both picked up a pair of hits, and the duo of Freeman and Gaskin each tallied three RBI. The Sand Sharks showed their depth across the lineup, as 10 batters had at least one hit.  Toole was outstanding in the circle, allowing just one hit over five innings while striking out seven to earn a complete-game shutout. 

The Sand Sharks quickly jumped on top of Savannah State again in game two, scoring a pair of early runs on a two-RBI single from Reynolds. SSU scored its first run of the day in the second inning to make it a 2-1 game, but USCB answered back in the top of the third on an Ashlyn Alte single up the middle to score Smith. The Sand Sharks left five runners in scoring position over the last four frames, but pitchers Libby Carey and Reghan Steifle held the two-run advantage to finish off the doubleheader sweep over the Division II Tigers.

Carey earned the victory in the circle, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing one run on four hits while notching eight strikeouts. Steifle finished the job to get the save, tossing 2.2 innings of hitless ball and striking out five batters. Reynolds came through at the dish with two hits and two RBI, and Alte added a single and double while driving in a run. Taylor VanHouse had a productive day at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with two singles.

USCB (5-3) travels to Greenwood for the Bearcat Round Robin on Saturday and Sunday for a four-game set against North Georgia and Lander.

By Wes Kerr

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