BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Samford baseball team plated nine runs in the final two innings to break open a close game on its way to a 15-4 win over in-state rival Troy Tuesday night at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
With the win, Samford improves to 30-16 on the season. The Bulldogs have now won at least 30 games in three-straight seasons and in six of the last seven years. Samford has now won nine of its last 10 games. Troy falls to 20-25 with the loss.
Samford was led at the plate by designated hitter C.K. Irby, going 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and five RBI. Irby also pitched the final 1.2 innings for the Bulldogs, allowing no runs on two hits.
"This was a pretty special night for C.K.," Samford head coach Casey Dunn said. "He had a lot of hard-hit balls tonight. It was just a great job by him at the plate tonight."
Following Irby at the plate for Samford, Zeth Stone went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Brandon Miller went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Saxon Butler went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and three RBI. Butler's home run was his 11th of the season. Phillip Ervin also went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Bulldogs.
Andres Gracia (2-0) pitched 5.0 innings, giving up no runs on five hits and striking out two batters to earn the win on the mound for the Bulldogs. Charles Terry, Sean Handlan, Michael Gunter, Joseph Burns, Tyler Vanderheiden and Irby split up the final 4.0 innings of the contest.
Troy was led at the plate by Boone Shear, going 2-for-5 with an RBI. Jakob Nixon went 2-for-5, while Tyler Vaughn went 2-for-4 for the Trojans. Tyler Hannah drove in two runs with a double in a 1-for-2 performance at the plate. Cass Abercrombie (1-3) pitched 3.1 innings, giving up five runs on four hits to take the loss for the Trojans.
The teams were scoreless for the first three and a half innings. Samford struck for five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 5-0 lead. The majority of the damage in the inning came on a three-run home run by Irby with Miller and Ervin on base. Miller and Zeth Stone also drove in a run each in the inning for Samford.
Samford added a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to push its lead to 6-0. Christiaan Durdaller was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Durdaller later scored from third base when Brad Moss reached base on a fielder's choice for a six-run Samford lead.
Troy fought back with four runs in the top of the seventh inning to pull to within two runs of the Bulldogs. Hannah drove in two runs in the inning, while Logan Pierce and Shear drove in a run each in the inning to cut the Samford lead to 6-4.
Samford answered with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make the score 8-4. Irby singled through the left side of the infield to drive in Ervin for the first run of the inning. Miller scored the final run of the inning on a ground out by Tommy Corbin.
The Bulldogs broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to make the final score 15-4. Butler hit a three-run home run to right field with Moss and Stone on base for the first three runs of the inning. Irby, Kevin Putkonen and Stone also drove in a run each in the inning, and Miller came home on a wild pitch as Samford pulled away for the 11-run win over the Trojans.