The Citadel extended its winning streak to five games in dramatic fashion, scoring the tiebreaking run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 victory over Samford in the middle game of a Southern Conference series at Riley Park.
Johnathan Stokes reached on an infield single to plate Tyler Griffin and set off a celebration near the first base bag. Griffin singled to lead off the inning, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and ground out and scored when Samford shortstop Frankie Navarrete threw high to first base after making a nice pickup of a grounder up the middle.
Skylar Hunter worked the ninth for The Citadel and allowed one hit with one strikeout to gain the win and even his record at 1-1. The combination of starterJames Reeves and relievers Zach Sherrill, David Rivera and Hunter limited Samford to just five hits on the day.
The winning streak is the longest for The Citadel (10-5, 2-0 SoCon) since running off five in a row from April 23-May 4, 2011. The Bulldogs are five games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2010 season with a record of 43-22.
The Bulldogs will go for a sweep over defending SoCon tournament champion Samford (9-7, 0-2) in the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m. Citadel freshman right hander Austin Mason (1-0, 2.79) will face junior righty Alex Milazzo (3-0, 3.00).
The Citadel offense, which produced five home runs and 12 runs on Friday, was held in check for most of the afternoon by Samford starter Eric Wright, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and ERA of 1.77.
The Bulldogs trailed 1-0 before scoring in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game but also ran into some bad luck in the inning. With Hughston Armstrong and Mason Davis on first and second and two outs, Bo Thompson lofted a double that fell just inside the line in deep right.
Armstrong scored easily but the speedy Davis was forced to return to third when the ball hopped over the fence for a ground rule double. Davis was stranded at third when Griffin flied out to right. The RBI was the sixth of the series for Thompson, who hit three homers and drove in five runs in Friday's victory.
Wright left with one out in the ninth but allowed the single to Griffin and was charged with his first loss of the season. He was staked to a 1-0 lead in the second when a Caleb Bryson single drove in Christiaan Durdaller for Samford's only run of the game.
Reeves picked up a no-decision despite turning in his best performance of the season. The sophomore left hander allowed three hits in five innings, walked one and struck out one. Sherrill pitched two innings of one-hit relief, and Rivera pitched a perfect eighth.