BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Samford baseball team broke open a close game with five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull away for an 8-2 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the second game of a three-game series Saturday afternoon at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
Samford pitcher C.K. Irby (6-3) overcame a slow start to earn the win on the mound for the Bulldogs. After falling behind, 2-0, in the second inning, Irby settled in and pitched 7.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, striking out seven batters and allowing just one walk. Andres Gracia pitched the final 2.0 innings, giving up just one hit to pick up his first save of the season.
“C.K. got better as the game went along, and that was encouraging,” Samford head coach Casey Dunn said. “He’s struggled trying to finish some games for us lately, kind of fading as the game went on. But I thought his stuff got better as the game went along today.”
At the plate, Caleb Bryson led Samford, going 4-for-4 with two RBI. Christiaan Durdaller went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and an RBI, while Austin Allison went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
“Today was just kind of an approach day,” Bryson said. “Coach Dunn’s really been working with me on that lately. I got in the cage a good bit before the game, just trying to feel my swing. I was just trying to put a bat on the ball today, and two of the hits weren’t hard hits, but I won’t ever complain about that.”
For Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Dwayne Hysmith went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Dylan Calhoun also drove in a run for the Golden Lions, going 1-for-3 at the plate.
Kyle Schwartz (3-4) pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits to take the loss for UAPB. Schwartz struck out eight batters, while allowing just two walks in the game. Stanten Jones, Grant Glass, Redmond Floyd and Humberto Zavala also saw time on the mound for Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
UAPB jumped on top first, plating two runs in the top of the second inning. Kirby Campbell walked to lead off the inning. After moving to second base on a sacrifice bunt, Campbell scored on a double by Hysmith for the game’s first run. Hysmith then advanced to third base when Patrick Phillips reached base on an infield single. Calhoun then singled to drive in Hysmith for a 2-0 UAPB lead.
Samford put its first run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs in the inning, Durdaller doubled to right-center field. Bryson then singled through the left side of the infield to cut the UAPB lead to 2-1.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Irby walked to lead off the inning, but was then retired when Phillip Ervin reached base on a fielder’s choice. Ervin then stole second base and Durdaller walked. Bryson then singled up the middle to drive in Ervin to tie the score at 2-2. Tommy Corbin then drove in Durdaller with a sacrifice bunt to give Samford a 3-2 lead.
Samford pulled away with five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out in inning, Durdaller homered to center field for the inning’s first run. Back-to-back singles by Corbin and Bryson, and a walk by Richard Greene loaded the bases. Allison then singled to drive in Bryson. Stone then singled to drive in Corbin, and Greene scored on the play on a UAPB error. Allison then stole third base and scored on another UAPB error for an 8-2 Samford lead.
With the win, Samford improves to 21-19 on the season. Arkansas-Pine Bluff drops to 14-24 with the loss.
Samford and Arkansas-Pine Bluff will conclude their series with a game Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Joe Lee Griffin Field. The game can be heard locally on WVSU-FM 91.1, or worldwide on the internet at www.samford.edu/wvsu. The game can also be seen online for free via Samford Sports TV at www.samfordsports.com/showcase. Live stats will also be available at www.samfordsports.com.