Grant Benefield, Staff Sports Reporter
After opening the season with a three-game sweep over Southern Illinois, Jacksonville State suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of the Samford Bulldogs 9-3.
The Gamecocks (3-1) struggled mightily at the plate on Tuesday night in Samford (2-2), notching just two hits total—both by Gamecock catcher Nic Gaddis.
Samford on the other hand, did not. The Bulldogs struck early and often, taking a 1-0 lead in the first, then exploding for six runs in the third and two in the fourth. The Bulldogs earned 14 hits total.
The Bulldogs had five players record multiple hits in the game, including outfielders Troy Dixon, Jordan Fucci, and Ryan Crockett, shortstop Branden Fryman, and and DH Ayrton Schafer. Dixon and Bulldog catcher Anthony Mulrine each collected three RBI’s.
The Gamecocks scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning, with an error by the Bulldog infield allowing Andrew Naismith to score. The Gamecocks then tacked on two more runs with fielder’s choices.
Gamecock starting pitcher Cody Willingham suffered the loss, completing just two innings of work before he was pulled in the third inning. Willingham surrendered seven hits, five runs, and a walk.
Hamp Skinner earned the win for the Bulldogs, tossing four innings and allowing all three of Jacksonville’s runs.
Gamecock relievers Sean Rape, Faleniko Teofilo, and Colin Casey had successful days for the Gamecocks, holding the Bulldog offense at bay for no runs over the last four innings of Tuesday’s game.
Jacksonville State will now look to a three-game series against Radford starting Friday at Choccolocco Park in Oxford.