The Citadel baseball team came up just short as Samford hit a two-out walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 1-0 Thursday night at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
Despite the loss, the story of the night was starting pitcher JP Sears. After being named to the prestigious Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List earlier this week, Sears proved why with 15 strikeouts in eight shutout innings of Samford.
After Sears departed, Aaron Lesiak entered the ball game in the ninth. The Citadel (10-21, 2-5 SoCon) right hander allowed a lead-off single, but then struck out the next two batters. With two strikes on Samford’s Anthony Mulrine, the catcher sent a fly ball to left-center field where Joe Sabatini made an all-out diving attempt to make the catch. The ball fell in, however, and Jordan Fucci scored from first base to give the host Bulldogs the victory.
Sears was dominant once again, recording his fourth double-digit strikeout game of the year and his eighth of his career as he mowed down the Samford lineup. Sears also posted 15 or more strikeouts for the third time this year, the fourth of his career. The Citadel southpaw struck out the side in both the second and fourth inning and struck out two batters in four other innings.
The reigning Southern Conference Pitcher of the Month allowed just four hits and three walks in eight shutout innings. Sears grinded through the final two innings of the night, stranding two runners on in the seventh and eighth.
The Citadel offense finished with six hits, but left 11 runners on base. The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the first inning, but were unable to come across with a run early. Six different players accounted for the hits for The Citadel.
The Citadel next plays a three-game Southern Conference series at Samford April 13-15. Links to live statistics and video will be available at CitadelSports.com.
Bottom 9th – Samford 1, The Citadel 0: Jordan Fucci scored on a double to left field by Anthony Mulrine with two outs.