Bulldogs to play UAB, former head coach Casey Dunn on Tuesday
Spring is in the air, and with that warm weather comes the return of America’s Pastime on Samford’s campus.
The Bulldogs baseball team is back in action and looks solid to start the season. The Bulldogs currently have a 10-8 record and have played some tough non-conference competition to start the season. Several stars for the Bulldogs have also continued their dominance for the team.
So far, Samford has had a relatively streaky season. The Bulldogs started red hot, going 4-0 through a sweep over Arkansas State and then beating Alabama State on the road.
Samford then traveled to Tallahassee to face the top-10 Florida State Seminoles, where they lost two out of three. However, the Dogs were able to pull out an extra-innings win over the Seminoles in the last game of the three-game series, shocking one of the premier baseball programs in the country.
After this, however, Samford did not play to its usual standard, dropping two out of three to Charleston Southern and getting swept by Memphis in Birmingham. The Bulldogs got back on track against Southeastern Louisiana, completing a three-game home sweep on March 20.
Last weekend, the Bulldogs stole two games from UCF on the road, improving their record to 12-9.
Towns King has emerged as a leader on this Samford squad, as he leads the team in batting average (.355), hits (22), and home runs (6). However, King does lead the team in strikeouts with 23, a number he will likely try to mitigate as the season rolls along.
Kaden Dreier has also proven to be a power threat, as he is second on the team in home runs with five. He also leads the team in RBIs with 21. So far, the Bulldogs bats have proved to be dangerous, with at least five players batting over .250.
As for the bullpen, there is still much room for improvement from the pitching staff as the season moves along.
The team has a cumulative ERA of 6.17, which is a high ERA to try and win Southern Conference games with come April 8 against VMI. However, there have been some bright spots for the Bulldog pitching staff.
Sophomore Jacob Cravey has proved to be dominant early on, as he leads the team in strikeouts with 24 and is second on the team in ERA (3.75). Sophomore pitcher Brody Westbrooks has recorded an impressive 21 strikeouts himself, but has allowed a 6.14 ERA through 22 innings.
If Westbrooks can work towards being a reliable number two starter, the Bulldogs have the potential to run with a powerful starting pitching duo with him and Cravey.
When looking at the team’s overall statistics in the SoCon, Samford has some room for improvement. The Bulldogs rank dead last in team batting average, team OBP, team runs scored, team hits, and team RBIs. Samford also ranks near the bottom in ERA, and team batters struck out.
While these statistics don’t necessarily define the Bulldogs, as the team is above .500 and playing well, they are still highly telling. These numbers will likely need to improve if the Bulldogs want to remain competitive in the SoCon.
Samford’s next game will be a tough mid-week contest against UAB (15-7), who are led by former Samford head coach Casey Dunn. Pulling off an upset against a hot UAB squad could prove to be a massive momentum swing for the Bulldogs, who are less than two weeks away from starting their SoCon schedule.
The Bulldogs will host the Blazers on Tuesday, March 29 on Samford’s home turf, Joe Lee Griffin Field. The game is set to begin at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.