Get out your brooms because the dogs had a clean sweep this weekend at Joe Lee Griffin Field. The Samford Baseball team came out with a 3-0 triumph over the University of Tennessee at Martin in a three-day series. The Bulldogs fought every second of the battle for this sweep.
Friday, Feb. 19, seemed like an easy night for the pin-striped home team until the top of the ninth when the Skyhawks scored three runs compared to the Bulldogs’ five, leaving Samford just on top. The first four of the runs came in the bottom of the second inning when Max Pinto hit a single bringing in Will David and Ryan Crockett. Brooks Carlson hit a double earning Pinto his own run and Colton Ledbetter was able to score on a wild pitch after being walked earlier in the inning. The fifth run came in the bottom of the sixth when Pinto sacrifice bunted, allowing Blake Bortak to score. The mound was inhabited by Sam Strickland, Winston Cannon and Carson Cupo during the match against the Skyhawks. Strickland went five innings, having no runs scored and striking out six batters. Cupo came in the final inning saving the team its W.
After the first game of the series, Carlson was pleased with his squad’s performance.
“I feel like we got all of the first game jitters out of the way and I feel like from now on we’ll be more relaxed as a team,” Carlson said . “It was good to win game one, but now it is time to focus on games two and three.
And that is just what they did.
Saturday, the Bulldogs had a 5-4 win, earning coach Casey Dunn his 500th career victory, being the only coach in Samford’s history to achieve this feat. The game, however, didn’t start off on such a high note, when UT-Martin came out swinging, scoring two runs in the first followed shortly after by two more in the third. Samford was able to end the drought in the fourth when Crockett had a hit that drove in Tyler McManus and in the sixth when David paid Crockett his own favor back and was able to hit him in for a run. In the seventh, Sonny DiChiara showed off by hitting a homerun and closing the gap to only one run. Samford took the lead during its final at-bat in the eighth when Ledbetter hit a double and drove in Carson Allison (pinch running for Kaden Dreir) followed by Taylor Garris hitting a single and doing the same to drive in Ledbetter for the win.
The third game, played on Sunday, Feb. 21, brought the series to a close with a 3-1 victory for the Bulldogs. Their opponents scored their only run of the day in the top of the first inning. Samford immediately answered in the bottom when Towns King singled to drive in Carlson. Both teams stayed pretty quiet until Samford decided it was time to determine a winner in the bottom of the sixth when DiChiara did what he does best and hit his second home run of the series. Allison scored on a throwing error a few plays later.
Needless to say, it was a busy and exciting opening weekend for the Samford baseball team. Fans hope to see the streak continued at home on Tuesday, Feb. 23 as they compete against Alabama State and then again next weekend when the Bulldogs hit the road to take on the Florida Gators in Gainesville.