GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG held a 2-0 lead after the first inning Friday, but Samford took charge the rest of the way and rolled to a 16-3 victory in a Southern Conference series opener at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Bulldogs, who entered the weekend in third place in the league standings, improve to 27-19 overall and 11-8 in the SoCon while the Spartans drop to 20-20 and 7-9.
Sophomore Ryan Clark (Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City) was charged with the loss after giving up eight runs (seven earned) in 6.1 innings of work. He also recorded three strikeouts. Alex Ledford (8-2) picked up the win for the Bulldogs, allowing just two runs on seven hits in seven innings pitched. Ledford benefitted greatly from his defense as Samford turned four double plays in the contest.
Offensively, senior Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) and junior Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) tallied two hits apiece while King also drove in a run. T.J. Dixon led the visitors with a 3-for-6 performance while also adding three RBI and three runs scored.
The Blue and Gold racked up four hits in the bottom of the first inning and benefitted from a wild pitch that scored the first run of the contest. King added a RBI single with one away to account for the second run.
The Bulldogs answered quickly, plating five runs – all with no outs - in the top of the second to assume a 5-2 advantage.
After four innings of scoreless baseball, Samford put the contest away with three runs in the seventh inning and eight in the eighth. A RBI single by redshirt sophomore Nin Marrero (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) closed the scoring in the bottom of the ninth.
The Spartans and Bulldogs will continue the series Saturday at 2 p.m. UNCG will honor its six seniors in a pregame on-field ceremony beginning at 1:45 p.m.