Samford comes from behind for win
Bulldogs stay composed, score two in seventh for victory
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Third-seeded Samford plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come from behind for a 3-2 win against second-seeded and 17th-ranked Mississippi State in an elimination game in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional Sunday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium.
"What a gutsy effort by a group of kids that haven't been here before," Samford head coach Casey Dunn said. "In this environment, in regional play, in an elimination game, for them to hold their composure is really impressive."
With the win, Samford advances to take on top-seeded and third-ranked Florida State Sunday evening.
Samford trailed, 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs in the inning, Phillip Ervin singled up the middle and then stole second base. Brandon Miller then doubled to left field to drive in Ervin to tie the score at 2-2. Miller then scored when C.K. Irby reached base on a Mississippi State error to give Samford the lead for good.
Samford relief pitcher Joseph Burns (4-1) pitched 1.2 innings, allowing no hits and striking out two batters to earn the win. Starting pitcher Kyle Putkonen pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and striking out five batters. Irby came in to pitch the final inning, giving up just one hit to earn his 10th save of the season.
Samford was led at the plate by Miller, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Zeth Stone, Brad Moss and Irby also had two hits each for Samford.
Mississippi State's Jonathan Holder (2-1) pitched an inning, giving up two runs, just one earned, on three hits to take the loss. Matthew Britton led MSU at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Adam Frazier and Wes Rea also had two hits each for Mississippi State.
Mississippi State jumped on top first with a run in the top of the first inning. Frazier led the inning off with a single. Demarcus Henderson then walked, moving Frazier to second base. After both runners advanced one base on a sacrifice bunt, Frazier scored when Hunter Renfroe reached base on a fielder's choice for a 1-0 MSU lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, Mississippi State added another run to push its lead to 2-0. Luis Pollorena and Rea led the inning off with back-to-back singles. Britton then singled to drive in Pollorena for MSU's second run of the game.
Samford came back with a run of its own in the bottom of the fourth inning. Miller and Irby led the inning off with back-to-back singles. With one out, the runners moved to second and third base on a ground out by Austin Allison. Tommy Corbin then singled to center field to drive in Miller, but Irby was thrown out trying to score to keep the score at 2-1.
With the win, Samford improves to 41-22. Mississippi State ends its season with a record of 40-24.