Elon Baseball Takes Series Opener at Samford

Posted by Press Release on April 5, 2014 at 5:28 am under College | Comments are off for this article

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Twice the Elon baseball team faced deficits against the Samford Bulldogs, and twice the Phoenix rallied to take the lead as the maroon and gold claimed a 7-5 victory in game one of a three-game Southern Conference series on Friday night.

With the win, Elon improved its record against Samford to 7-0 in games played in Birmingham. It also ran the squad’s winning streak to six games.

The Phoenix (20-10, 7-3 SoCon) fell behind 3-0 after Samford (17-13, 4-3) scored single runs in the second, third and fifth innings. Elon’s first rally came in the sixth when singles by Ryan Cooper and Casey Jones were followed by a walk to load the bases. After a fielder’s choice erased Cooper at the plate and a strike out, Chris King belted the first pitch he saw from Bulldog starter Alex Ledford deep and over the right field wall for his second grand slam of the season.

Elon’s lead was short-lived, however, as Samford came back with two in the last of the sixth to move ahead 5-4. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with a single and two walks before Phoenix pitching walked in one and hit a batter to force in the second. The Phoenix was able to escape further damage as the next three hitters were set down on an infield fly, strike out and fly out.

In the seventh, Quinn Bower reached on a one-out bunt single and moved to second on a Cooper single. The Phoenix knotted the game at five when Jones lined a single to left to plate Bower and leave runners on the corners. The new Samford pitcher uncorked a wild pitch on his first delivery that allowed Cooper to score the go-ahead run. Jones later came in on a Samford error.

Samford threatened in the last of the ninth as Tyler Filliben singled and Drew McWhorter drew a walk to start the inning. After a strike out and fly out that advanced the runner to third, pinch-runner Jordan Wren was thrown out attempting to steal second for the final out of the game.

After throwing three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, Matt Harris (1-0) earned the first win of his career. Ryan Pennell tossed the ninth to earn his league-leading ninth save of the season.

The loss went to Ledford (5-2) who was charged with all seven Elon runs (six earned) on eight hits in 6.1 innings.

For Elon, Jones ran his hitting streak to 16 games with his 2-for-5 performance. Bower, Cooper and King all also had two of Elon’s 10 hits on the night.

The Phoenix and Bulldogs will play game two of the series on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern.


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