The Samford baseball team completed a three-game sweep of The Citadel this past weekend on the road in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the second time the Bulldogs have earned a conference series sweep on the road this season.
Samford came into the series on a five game winning streak, having scored 42 runs in their past five games. They continued their hot stretch at the plate this past weekend, scoring 31 runs over the three games in the series.
Game one saw the Bulldogs fall behind early, trailing 2-0 in the first inning. Samford would then score the next eight runs to take an 8-2 advantage heading into the seventh inning. Both teams added runs late to make the final score 9-4 in favor of the Bulldogs from Birmingham.
Junior starter Cody Shelton had an efficient game on the mound for the 6 ⅓ innings while giving up five hits, four runs, and striking out two Citadel batters. Shelton was credited with his first win of the season, improving his record to 1-2 with a 3.48 ERA in eight starts.
Freshman Billy Creger and senior Josh Rich finished out the game in relief for Samford, combining to throw 2 ⅔ innings of two-hit baseball while allowing no runs.
At the plate, eight Samford batters registered hits on the day. Sophomores Troy Dixon and Anthony Mulrine, as well as freshman Max Pinto and senior Austin Edens, all turned in multi-hit performances. Edens finished two for five at the plate with three RBIs and a run scored.
Sophomore Ayrton Schafer blasted his first home run of the season over the left field wall in the top of the third inning to give Samford the lead 4-2. Schafer finished one for four at the plate with two RBIs.
Game two featured an absolute gem on the mound from freshman left-hander Sam Strickland. The two-time SoCon Pitcher of the Week went seven innings, giving up only three hits to Citadel batters while striking out five. Strickland was credited with yet another win on the season, improving his record to 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA in eight appearances.
At the plate, the Bulldogs’ lineup totaled 11 hits on the day. Freshman Brooks Carlson and Max Pinto as well as Anthony Mulrine had two-hit games, while Brandon Fryman, Austin Edens, Taylor Garris and Sam Teague added hits to Samford’s total.
Troy Dixon blasted a three-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to put Samford up by a score of 4-0. Dixon finished one for three at the plate with three RBIS. Carlson and Edens also had RBIs for Samford.
Samford brought across two runners in both the sixth and seventh innings, and then used Dixon’s home run in the eighth to earn the victory by a score of 7-0.
Game three featured another dominant offensive performance from Samford, as the Bulldogs’ lineup tallied 15 runs on 15 hits to sweep the series by a score of 15-2.
Junior Stephon Jones pitched five innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out one Citadel batter. Junior Jack Rude and sophomore Hamp Skinner covered the final two innings, combining to give up only one hit.
At the plate, Samford matched its season high in runs with 15. Four different Bulldogs had multiple RBIs on the day.
Anthony Mulrine finished a perfect four for four at the plate with three RBIs. Max Pinto batted two for five with three RBIs, while Taylor Garris went three for four with an RBI. Austin Edens and freshman Blaine Smith added two RBIs each to Samford’s total.
Overall, the dominant series improved Samford’s record to 19-14, 7-2 SoCon. The Bulldogs have now won eight straight games, while The Citadel (12-19, 3-6 SoCon) continued its seven-game losing streak with the three loses in the series.
Samford will host conference rival Mercer (26-8, 6-3 SoCon) in a series to be played April 13-15 at Joe Lee Griffin Field. Friday’s game will begin at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. (all CST). The Bulldogs will then head out on the road to take on in-state rival Alabama (20-13, 5-7 SEC) on April 17 at 6 p.m. (CST) in Tuscaloosa.
Collin Reese, Staff Writer
[Sam Strickland is pictured above; photo courtesy of Tracy Teague]