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Wednesday night's baseball roundup
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/23/2018
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Samford's Samuel Strickland and Wofford's McClain Bradley
Courtesy: Carlos Morales

No. 2 Samford 4, No. 7 Furman 0

GREENVILLE, S.C. – An RBI single by Ayrton Schafer in the first inning and three runs in the eighth inning combined with 10 strikeouts from SoCon Media Freshman of the Year Samuel Strickland were more than enough to lift No. 2 seed Samford to a 3-0 victory over No. 7 seed Furman on Wednesday at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holsten Gases.

Samford (33-24) awaits the winner of Wednesday’s final game between No. 6 seed ETSU and No. 3 seed Wofford, facing off with either the Bucs or Terriers on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Furman (24-27) will face the loser of ETSU-Wofford on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in a must-win game.

With Samford holding one-run lead with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Brooks Carlson roped a single to center field to give the Bulldogs a pair of insurance runs. Connor Burns then sent a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Troy Dixon and giving Samford a 4-0 advantage.

The Bulldogs wasted no time giving Strickland run support, getting on the board in the first inning. After Carlson reached base by a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Schafer stepped up to the plate and roped a single to center field to give Samford an early 1-0 lead.

Seven different Bulldogs recorded a hit in the win, led by shortstop Branden Fryman who went 3-for-4 with one run scored. Carlson finished with a hit, a run scored and two RBIs for the game.

Strickland improves to 8-2 on the season, throwing six innings of two-hit ball without yielding a walk. The left-hander was locked in from the start, striking out the side in the first after the leadoff batter reached base via error. The Birmingham, Alabama, native struck out a pair of batters in the second, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and two in the sixth before turning the ball over to the bullpen.

Wyatt Burns came on in relief, throwing three scoreless innings to pick up his 11th save of 2018. The Bulldogs recorded the first shutout in a SoCon baseball tournament game since the 2017 play-in game in which No. 9 VMI defeated No. 8 The Citadel 8-0.

Jason Costa, Brandon Elmy, Landon Kay and Sims Griffith all registered singles for the Paladins. As a team, Furman struck out 13 times and failed to record a walk while stranding five base-runners.

Furman starter Grant Schuermann took the loss, pitching seven innings while allowing four runs to fall to 4-8 on the season.

The SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases continues with the final game between No.3 seed Wofford and No. 6 seed ETSU to be played Wednesday evening.

No. 3 Wofford 8, No. 6 ETSU 7 (10 inn.)

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Andrew Orzel ripped an RBI double to left center in the bottom of the 10th inning to score McClain Bradley and lift third-seeded Wofford to an 8-7 win over No. 6 seed ETSU at the SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field on Wednesday night.

The Terriers (36-21) advance to face No. 2 seed Samford on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Bucs (27-24) will take on No. 7 seed Furman in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m.

The Terriers held leads of 4-1 and 7-2 before seeing the Bucs rally for five runs over the final two innings of regulation to force the decisive 10th frame. Bradley reached on a muffed throw by defensive replacement Sean Kearney with two outs to get the rally going, and Orzel, who had a two-run home run earlier in the contest, smoked a 2-1 offering to the gap in left center to send Wofford into the winners’ bracket.  

Wofford’s rally was made necessary by ETSU’s own comeback, as the Bucs plated three in the eighth and two in the ninth to make things interesting. Trailing 7-2 and down to their final four outs, ETSU got an RBI double by Cade Gilbert and a two-run home run from Jackson Greer with two away in the eighth to make it 7-5.

After Wofford left the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame, ETSU’s Christian Bailey stroked an RBI single and Caleb Longley came in from second on a pair of wild pitches in the ninth as the Bucs tied things up at 7.

The ETSU rally wasted a quality start from Wofford’s All-SoCon second-team starting pitcher Adam Scott, who limited the Bucs to two runs on six hits in seven innings of work. Scott, who struck out 13 and walked two, was in line for his ninth win of the season when he departed.

Jake Hershman (4-4) was credited with the win after 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The dramatic win was Wofford’s first-ever in the SoCon Baseball Championship in Greenville and erased two years of heartbreaking losses at Fluor Field. In 2016, Wofford surrendered four runs in the bottom of the ninth in a walk-off loss to Western Carolina before being eliminated 9-6 by UNCG the following day. Last season, Furman posted a mercy-rule win over the Terriers in the opener before VMI walked off with a 6-5 win in 10 innings in an elimination contest.

On Wednesday, Wofford got six multi-hit performances, including three-hit games from Bradley and Colin Davis, as part of its 16-hit attack.

The Terriers got the scoring started with a Little League home run in the second inning, as Davis led off with a triple to center past a diving Hunter Parker and scored on the play on Parker’s errant throw. An Alex Malsch RBI single in the fourth doubled the Wofford lead before the Bucs got a run back on Chris Cook’s RBI single in the fifth.

Wofford answered with Orzel’s two-run bomb in the bottom half before the teams traded runs in the sixth. Bradley’s solo homer and Alec Cargin’s RBI double in the seventh seemed to blow the game open for the Terriers, giving them a 7-2 lead before ETSU’s late rally.

Cook’s 3-for-6 effort paced ETSU’s 11-hit day. Bailey, Gilbert and Greer had two hits each.

Bucs starter Micah Kaczor did not factor into the decision after allowing three runs on eight hits in four innings of work. James Giambalvo (3-3), the last of four ETSU pitchers, struck out five in 2 2/3 innings but was saddled with the loss after allowing an unearned run on two hits.

The SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases resumes Thursday at 9 a.m. with an elimination game between No. 1 seed UNCG and No. 4 seed VMI.

May 22 (Tuesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 1: #9 Western Carolina 6, #8 The Citadel 5             

May 23 (Wednesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 2: #5 Mercer 19, #5 VMI 0 (7 inn.)                         

Game 3: #9 Western Carolina 10, #1 UNCG 2                  
Game 4: #2 Samford 4, #7 Furman 0                              
Game 5: #3 Wofford vs. #6 ETSU                                  7:30 p.m. 

May 24 (Thursday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 6: #4 VMI vs. #1 UNCG                                           9 a.m.

Game 7: #7 Furman vs. #6 ETSU                                12:30 p.m.
Game 8: #5 Mercer vs. #9 Western Carolina                     4 p.m.
Game 9: #2 Samford vs. #3 Wofford                             7:30 p.m.

May 25 (Friday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 10: Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8                   3:30 p.m.

Game 11: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 9                   7 p.m. 

May 26 (Saturday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)

Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9                 12 p.m.
Game 13: Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11              3:30 p.m.
Game 14: Winner Game 13 vs. Loser Game 12                7 p.m. 

May 27 (Sunday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 15: Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 14              12 p.m.

^Game 16: Winner Game 15 vs. Loser Game 15              40 minutes after Game 15 

^ if necessary

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