Callie Morrison/Contributing Writer
On Friday, April 16, the Samford baseball team headed to Cullowhee, North Carolina, for a two-day series against Western Carolina University.
Head coach Casey Dunn anticipated that the team’s weekend series against Western Carolina would be a tough one.
“Western is playing as well as anyone in the league and they have an explosive offense,” Dunn said ahead of the matchup. “It will be a challenge for our guys.”
The Bulldogs and Catamounts went head-to-head on Friday, resulting in a split doubleheader.
Western took an early lead with a run in the bottom of the second inning, but Samford tied the score 1-1 in the fifth inning when Sonny DiChiara’s hit brought in Will David.
In the seventh inning, Western took the lead again scoring two runs, but in the top of the eighth inning, David singled to drive in Blake Bortak and Colton Ledbetter scored on an error to tie the score. Taylor Garris drove in David and gave Samford the lead.
The Bulldogs’ victory was secured when DiChiara doubled to bring in Garrett Howe and Garris.
At the top of the ninth inning, they were still fighting. David’s hit brought Bortak home and Max Pinto’s single drove in David.
Western added two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to make the final score 8-5.
The second game on Friday started on a high when Tyler McManus’ hit drove in Howe in the top of the first inning, and in the top of the second when Howe singled to bring in Garris, giving Samford a two-run lead.
Western Carolina came back with six runs in the bottom of the second inning, giving them an advantage over the Bulldogs.
Everything was quiet until the bottom of the eighth inning when Western Carolina added another run, pushing its lead 7-2, resulting in a defeat for Samford.
On Saturday, April 17, the series finale started with Western Carolina gaining a 3-0 lead. It was not until the top of the fourth inning when Samford scored from a two-run home run by Ryan Crockett.
However, the Catamounts brought in nine runs in the bottom of the fourth, compared to Samford’s three.
The top of the sixth inning resulted in two more runs for Samford, cutting the Catamounts’ lead.
The Bulldogs remained hopeful, however, and found some success in the closing stages of the contest.
With seven runs in the top of the ninth inning, DiChiara was walked with the bases loaded and McManus singled to drive in two runs while Towns King’s triple scored two more runs.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they were unable to close the inning out, and would eventually lose by a final score of 12-11.
No loss for the Samford baseball team is taken lightly, but coach Dunn is confident that his team gives its best every game.
“I have been very pleased with our guys at this point,” Dunn said. “We have continued to play hard the full nine innings. With all the chaos that this year has brought, our guys have continued to stay focused and work hard each day.”
Fans are hopeful to see the team turn things around as they travel to Auburn, Alabama, on Tuesday, April 20 to face the Auburn Tigers.