LAKELAND, Fla.—Southeastern came into its matchup with the University of South Carolina Beaufort Sand Sharks just a single game ahead of USCB for third in the Sun Conference standings, while riding a four-game winning streak. After sweeping the competitions between the two schools on Saturday by scores of 4-2 and 6-0, the Fire have distanced themselves from the field and closed within one game of first place Warner.
SEU (31-12, 10-4 TSC) started the day off strong in the opening contest. Following a Haliegh Harrell single and a Sam Holcomb stolen base, Kiah Ferrell doubled both players in to give the Fire an early 2-0 advantage.
The Fire kept pressure on the Sand Sharks after a hit-by-pitch and a walk in the second. Harrell, who finished game one 2-for-3, singled to load the bases for fellow freshman Lauren Watters. Watters put a ball in play that saw Brianna Perez cross to make it 3-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Holcomb then added an exclamation point as she belted a ball well over the left field fence and onto Longfellow Boulevard, giving SEU another insurance run. The home run was the Niceville, Fla. native’s team-high sixth of 2018.
Southeastern only managed to get four hits in the first contest, but provided all of the offense Hannah Bodenhorn needed to get the 4-2 win. The junior pitcher moved to 14-3 on the season, while striking out eight and allowing three hits over seven innings of work.
Another great pitching performance, this time by freshman Ashley Appell, highlighted the second competition. Appell did not give up a hit until the fourth inning, and only gave up more than a single hit in one half inning. No runs scored for USCB in game two, as Appell picked up her 16th win of the year.
Holcomb, who doubled in the fourth inning for the Fire’s first hit, got Southeastern on the board in the fifth with an RBI single, scoring Kristin Mihalic to break the ice. Ferrell followed Holcomb’s RBI base knock with one of her own to double SEU’s lead by driving in Watters. Holcomb finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Ferrell went 2-for-2, as the duo combined for five of the team’s seven hits.
One of the Sand Sharks’ three errors allowed two more runs to cross in the fifth, giving the Fire a 4-0 advantage through five innings played.
In the sixth, Britney Schmidt supplemented the lead with a ball that plated Harrell. Another mistake by USCB gave Southeastern its sixth and final run of the competition when Holcomb came around to score for the second time in as many innings.
With the pair of victories, SEU has now won six straight TSC matchups and eight of the last nine.
The Fire will travel to Ave Maria for a doubleheader on Wednesday looking to extend their winning streak in conference play. Games are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.