BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The Samford softball team improved its record to 4-2 Sunday as it swept a doubleheader from Miami (Ohio) in its home opener. Alex Adams' first career home run shut the door for the Bulldogs in the first game while strong pitching in the second game by Amanda Barrs and Robyn Harmon secured the win in game two.
"It was good to get back-to-back wins," Samford head coach Beanie Ketcham said. "The biggest thing for us today was that the pitchers stepped up. I think we got three really solid performances from our pitchers today and that is key for us. We struggled a little on defense today with Amanda Jordan out but we did what we had to do to win."
It was a battle between two good teams at Bulldog Field on Sunday – the Bulldogs who made a run in the Southern Conference Tournament last season, and the Redhawks who won the MAC last season and went to the NCAA Tournament.
In game one, Miami got on the board straight out of the gate in the first inning before Samford tied the game at one in the bottom of the inning. The Redhawks scored on an error by second baseman Rachael Reeves while Katie England brought in Amy Gonzalez on a groundout to the shortstop.
The Bulldogs and Redhawks played five and a half scoreless innings before Alex Adams came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out. The redshirt freshman catcher secured the win for the Bulldogs with her first hit of the game and her first career walk-off home run to center field. The Bulldogs won, 2-1.
"That was a big hit for us by Alex," Ketcham said. "Obviously, it was a real confidence booster. She's been hitting the ball really well for us. She didn't really have particularly good at-bats during her first two, so we knew she was due. She is capable of hitting the ball like that every time, so if we can keep her healthy, she is going to continue to contribute."
Stephanie Royall (2-0) grabbed her second win of the season as she pitched six and two-thirds innings against Miami in game one. She gave up only one earned run on two hits and struck out five batters while walking three.
Jessica Simpson (0-1) took the loss for the Redhawks, giving up two runs on four hits in six and two-thirds innings. She struck out four batters.
In game two, the Bulldogs scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the fourth after three and a half scoreless innings. Aaren Fisher brought in the first run for the Bulldogs as she doubled with the bases loaded. Then with two outs on the board, Reeves singled and advanced to third on an error by the left fielder which brought home Fisher and Adams.
With Samford up 3-0, Miami changed pitchers, but the Bulldogs were not finished. Brianna Chambers singled through the left side and brought in Reeves before the Redhawks finally retired the Bulldogs for the inning.
At the top of the fifth, Miami scored on an error by second base but Samford's stellar pitching kept the Redhawks from doing anymore damage.
Amanda Barrs (1-1) grabbed the win for the Bulldogs while pitching four complete innings. She gave up just six hits and the only run was unearned. She also struck out three batters while only walking two. Harmon finished out the game, giving up just one hit while striking out one batter.
"Overall, I'm pleased," Ketcham said. "We didn't really hit the ball as well as we could've today, but we had solid pitching and played good enough defense to win. We did what we had to do, so we'll take it."
The Bulldogs will be back in action this Friday as they host the Magic City Classic. Samford will play its first game of the three-day tournament at 5:45 p.m., against Alabama State. ASU will play in the first two contests on Friday versus Nicholls State and Troy beginning at 11 a.m. and 1:15 p .m.
Samford will play one game on Friday, two on Saturday and one on Sunday.
For a look at the full schedule of the Magic City Classic, check out the Bulldogs' schedule page at www.samfordsports.com.