BIRMINGHAM, ALA. -- Alex Abrams doubled, homered, drove in three runs, and earned the victory with three innings of effective relief pitching in Furman's 11-9 Southern Conference baseball win over Samford on Saturday afternoon at J.L. Griffin Field.
Abrams, a senior designated hitter/first baseman/pitcher from Charleston, S.C., belted his first home run of the season, a solo shot to right field in the third inning, stroked a two-run single in a four-run fourth, and doubled and scored what proved to be the winning run in the eighth inning to help Furman (11-16, 2-3 SoCon) even the three-game series with Samford (15-11, 3-2 SoCon) heading into Sunday's 2:00 p.m. ET series finale.
The Paladins trailed 5-1 after three frames before scoring 10 unanswered runs to take an 11-5 lead in the eighth. That proved just enough to hold off the Bulldogs, who tallied four runs in the eighth to make it 11-9 and then loaded the bases in the ninth before Furman reliever Tyler Wood induced a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Frankie Navarette to end the game.
Abrams (4-1) went 3-for-6 at the plate and also scored twice in his role as designated hitter. He took over for starting pitcher Elliott Warford in the fifth with the game tied 5-5 and pitched three scoreless innings of relief before yielding back-to-back singles to lead off the eighth and giving way to Wood.
Greg Harrison matched Abrams' three-hit performance by going 3-for-4 and scoring two runs, and Sky Overton went 2-for-5 with three RBI, including a two-out, two-run double that capped the Paladins' four-run seventh.
Heath Burton also had two hits, including an RBI double, in Furman's 14-hit attack.
Drew McWhorter led Samford, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs.
The Bulldogs combined two hits with three walks to plate two runs in the first inning against Warford.
Abrams' solo blast off Samford starter Jared Brasher in the third made it 2-1, but the Bulldogs quickly answered with a three spot in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by a McWhorter two-run double into the left field corner.
Furman began its comeback with four runs in the fourth, made possible by four walks, two hits, and a wild pitch. Abrams' two-run single off the wall in deep left center field highlighted the rally that tied the game at 5-5.
Abrams took over on the mound the fifth and blanked the Bulldogs for three innings, during which time the Paladins took the lead for good with a four-run seventh against Bulldog reliever Parker Curry (2-1). Overton's two-run double into right center field scored Heath Burton and Jake Jones to give Furman a 9-5 lead.
In the eighth Jordan Simpson made it 10-5 with and RBI single, and Chris Ohmstede sprinted home on a wild pitch for Furman's 10th consecutive run and 11-5 advantage.
The loss was charged to Curry, who allowed four runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits over 1 1/3 innings of relief.