April 25, 2014
Birmingham, Ala. -
Samford erased Western Carolina's early two-run lead with a five-spot in the bottom of the second inning, and starting pitcher Alex Ledford tossed a complete game as the Bulldogs downed the Catamounts, 10-4, Friday evening in the Southern Conference series opener at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
Ledford (7-2) scattered nine hits over the nine innings, limiting the Catamounts to just four runs - three earned - with six strikeouts and issued two walks.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm CT / 3:00 pm ET. Fans can follow the game on the Catamount Sports Network with air time at 1:45 pm CT / 2:45 pm ET online at CatamountSports.com.
WCU (26-14, 11-4 SoCon) took advantage of a lead-off single deep in the hole by Jacob Hoyle to start the two-run rally in the top of the second with Luke Gragg doubling down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position. Both runners scored after freshman Matt Smith hit a hot-shot to second base that was booted, reaching on the error with a RBI, but was thrown out trying to advance to second on the throw to the plate.
Samford (26-16, 10-6 SoCon) quickly tied the game four batters into the bottom of the same frame, though, using a pair of doubles and a Catamount error allowing the tying run to score. The Bulldogs added three more runs to pull out to a 5-2 lead and would ultimately stretch the advantage to six with a two-run home run in the fourth and a solo shot in the sixth for an 8-2 lead.
The Catamounts managed a second two-run rally in the top of the eighth inning as Gragg and Smith both singled. Seniors Aaron Attaway and Cody Jones plated the two runs with singles to trim the deficit back to four, 8-4. However, the Bulldogs matched the two-spot with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to provide the final tally, 10-4.
Smith led the Catamounts with three singles in four plate appearances while Gragg finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Smith, Attaway and Jones all recorded RBI's in the loss. Adam Martin
finished 0-for-3 at the plate to see his eight-game hitting streak snapped. But the Marietta, Ga., native drew a walk in the fourth inning to extended his reached base safely streak to a team-long 11-straight.
Junior Jeremy Null (5-2) took the loss for the Catamounts, surrendering eight runs - six earned - on nine hits over his seven-inning start. The Claremont, N.C., product struck out five while walking three. Sophomore Jonathan Waszak tossed one inning, allowing two unearned runs on two hits.
All told, six of Samford's 11 hits went for extra bases including four doubles and two home runs. The two teams combined to turn five double plays - three by the Bulldogs and two by the Catamounts.
For the Bulldogs, Tripp Martin finished 3-for-3 with a walk and a home run, scoring four runs and driving in two. Drew McWhorter and Frankie Navarrete were 2-for-4 for Samford with Jared Watson hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning.