9th inning Samford slam stuns #24 Auburn, 8-5

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Samford sophomore center fielder Phillip Ervin hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Bulldog baseball team to an 8-5 win over Auburn Tuesday night at Joe Lee Griffin Field.

The game was played in front of a Joe Lee Griffin Field record crowd of 2,397.

"That was an unbelievable game," Samford head coach Casey Dunn said. "What an exciting finish. What a night Phillip had. He is truly a guy who delivers on the big stage. He's a guy who, the bigger the game, the better he performs."

For the game, Ervin went 2-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI. The performance marked the first two-homer game of Ervin's Samford career. It was also the first walk-off win of the season for Samford.

Samford entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing, 5-4. With one out in the inning, Brad Moss was hit by a pitch. Saxon Butler then singled to center field, moving Moss to second base. Brandon Miller then reached base on an infield single to load the bases. Ervin then hit an 0-2 pitch over the left-field wall for his second homer of the day, giving Samford the 8-5 win.

Behind Ervin for Samford at the plate, Zeth Stone went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Butler and Kevin Putkonen both went 2-for-3 on the night. Austin Allison also drove in a run for the Bulldogs in a 1-for-3 performance.

C.K. Irby (3-0) pitched the final inning, allowing no hits to earn the win on the mound for Samford. Joseph Burns, Andres Gracia, Lex Rutledge, Taylor Hammond and Arthur Strauss also saw time on the mound for the Bulldogs.

For Auburn at the plate, Garrett Cooper went 3-for-4, while Justin Bryant went 2-for-4. Zach Alvord hit a two-run home run in a 1-for-4 performance. Bryant (1-1) tossed the final inning, allowing four runs on three hits to take the loss on the mound for the Tigers.

Samford jumped on top first with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Allison singled to right field to drive in Irby for the first run of the game. Stone later hit a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Putkonen for a 2-0 Samford lead.

The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 4-0 with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Butler singled up the middle to lead off the inning. With one out in the inning, Ervin homered to left field for a four-run Samford lead.
Auburn came back with three runs in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Samford lead to 4-3. Dan Glevenyak drove in two runs with a single to center field, and Alvord grounded out to drive in Cullen Wacker to bring Auburn to within one run.

The score remained 4-3 until the Tigers plated two runs in the top of the eighth inning. With one out in the inning, Cooper singled to right field. With two outs, Alvord homered to left field to give Auburn a 5-4 lead and set the stage for the Bulldogs' come-from-behind win.

The win gave Samford its third-straight win over Auburn. The Bulldogs have now defeated the Tigers in four of the last six meetings.

Samford improves to 17-8 with the win. Auburn drops to 15-10 with the loss.

Samford will return to action on Friday, March 30, when the Bulldogs open a three-game home Southern Conference series against Elon. The series-opener on Friday is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start from Joe Lee Griffin Field.