Furman Splits Sunday DH With Samford: 5-3, 2-3
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Aaron Thompkins homered and scored a pair of runs to power Furman to a 5-3 victory over Samford in a game one of a Southern Conference doubleheader Sunday at Latham Stadium, but the Bulldogs gained the twinbill split and series win with a 3-2 game two verdict, highlighted by Tripp Swann's eighth-inning, pinch-hit RBI single.
Samford is now 27-18 overall and 14-10 in SoCon play while Furman, which snapped an eight-game losing skid with its game one victory, is 20-27 on the campaign and 10-13 in SoCon action.
In the opener the Paladins used RBI singles by Reese Wade and Alex Abrams, a run-scoring sacrifice bunt by J.B. Jenkins, and solo home run by Thompkins -- his first of the season -- off Bulldog starter Charles Basford to plate runs in the first three innings for a 4-0 lead
A two-out Furman fielding error in the Samford fifth led to three unearned runs that sliced the advantage to 4-3.
The Paladins tallied an unearned run of their own in the bottom of the inning after Thompkins reached on a dropped fly to lead off, stole second, and scored on a Paul Nitto single up the middle to make it 5-3.
Furman's preserved its lead in the sixth when Nate Smith came on for Paladin starter Daniel Stallsmiith and struck out Michael Johnson, stranding two runners.
An inning later Furman left fielder Will Owens' leaping, over-the-fence grab on Phillip Ervin's long fly ball with two outs kept it a two-run game.
The Bulldogs put two runners on in the eighth before Dylan Cole got the final two outs to again strand two base runners, and in the ninth Cole worked around a pair of one-out singles by inducing a game ending double play grounder off Ervin's bat.
Wade and Nitto joined Thompkins with two hits apiece for the Paladins, who finished with eight hits.
Led by Saxton Butler's 3-for-5 performance, Samford forged seven hits in the opener.
Stallsmith (4-2) was credited with the victory, working 5 2/3 innings and allowing four runs, none of which was earned, while walking six and recording one strikeout.
The loss was charged to Basford (4-4), who allowed five runs, one of which was unearned, on seven hits over six innings. He fanned six.
The save was Cole's ninth of the season.
In game two Swann stroked a pinch-hit RBI single through the right side of the infield to score Irvin from second base, just ahead of the throw, to break a 2-2 tie and give Samford the 3-2 win.
In the decisive eighth Paladin reliever Jay Friedman retired the first two batters he faced before Ervin walked and advanced to second on a Kevin Putkonen single. At that point Swann, pinch-hitting for Brandon Powell, survived an 0-2 Friedman curve ball over the outside corner by stroking a 1-2 pitch through the right side to score Ervin.
Bulldog reliever Lex Rutledge worked a perfect eighth before giving way to Andrew Jones, who retired the Paladins in order in the ninth to notch his 10th save of the season and lock up the twinbill split for the Bulldogs.
Samford, which trailed 2-0 after six innings, tied the game in the seventh on Tyler Filliben's bases loaded, two-run single that was preceded by a Paladin infield error on an attempted force play at second base.
Furman took a 1-0 lead in the third on Jenkins' one-out RBI triple into the right field corner.
The Paladins made it 2-0 in the fifth on a Will Owens' single to left field that plated Alex Abrams.
C.K. Irby (4-1) was credited with the victory after coming on in the sixth and tossing 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.
Friedman (1-2) was charged with the loss after yielding the game deciding run in the eighth.
The Bulldogs produced nine hits in game two, including two by Ervin, who scored two of Samford's three runs, and Filliben, who drove home a pair of the runs as part of a 2-for-4 performance.
Thompkins had two of Furman's six hits in the nightcap.
Furman's next game is May 10 versus Clemson at Fluor Field, with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.