In college sports, most athletes need time to physically and mentally mature before making a considerable impact on a team’s success. For Samford softball pitcher Abby Swaney and first baseman O’Neil Roberson, however, that has not been the case.
Swaney has started four games this season and has found early success. She currently has a 1.32 ERA and a 3-1 record. Her first outing was a shutout victory against Eastern Illinois and she leads the team in strikeouts with 29.
The Springville, Alabama, native attended and played for Springville High School. She led the Tigers to a 26-7 record and an AHSAA Playoffs quarterfinals appearance in her senior season.
While the rest of the bullpen is still establishing their rotations and roughing out the edges, Swaney’s early success gives hope to the defense moving forward.
“Abby came out from the beginning of the fall throwing very well and we love her out there,” Roberson said. “She’s going to take us a long way & it’s very exciting to see her do so well.”
While Swaney establishes herself on the mound, O’Neil Roberson has been handling business at the plate.
Roberson is currently batting with a .354 average. She has 17 hits, three home runs and 12 RBIs and is ranked in second place for all of those statistical categories on the team.
Roberson’s success is not a surprise to most. Her arrival was heavily anticipated, as the junior is a recent transfer from Mississippi State. This season, she is en route to being one of the most successful batters in the Southern Conference.
After the first week of the season, the Birmingham native was named SoCon player of the week for her performance at the Samford Tournament.
“I’ve just been telling myself the more aggressive my at bats are, the better the outcome will be,” said Roberson. “Coach Mandy does a great job at giving us a game plan before each game and even each at bat.”
Her continued success will be vital to the Bulldogs’ season as pitchers are still establishing themselves and cementing their roles in the rotation.
Last weekend, the Bulldogs took down the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the final game of the Samford Tournament. This was Samford’s first win over an ACC opponent since 1999. Samford’s (7-8) next contest will be against the UTSA Roadrunners on Friday. The Bulldogs’ next home game will be on March 4 against Troy.