Softball gearing up for conference

Sarah Tuttle, Web Editor

The Samford softball team has started the season with an 11-23 record. The Bulldogs began conference play last week and are 1-2 in SoCon matches.

Notable wins for the Bulldogs this season include the UT Martin tournament on March 18 and 19 where they went 3-1. Samford topped Western Illinois in both matchups and split games with UT Martin. Samford senior catcher Abby Sweeney had a standout performance in the tournament by leading the Bulldogs with 14 RBIs.

“Personally, I have realized the need for consistency at the plate,” Sweeney said. “We have shown signs of greatness, and as a team, we need to build on that and persist to improve with each game.”

For the season, Samford junior outfielder Shelby Maze is leading the Bulldogs overall offensively. Maze has a .467 batting average, 56 hits and six RBI. Sweeney is right behind Maze with a .323 batting average, 31 hits and 29 RBIs. Sophomore infielder Madison Couch is also producing offensively with a .316 batting average.

Senior pitcher Grey Adams is leading the Bulldogs with a 3.18 ERA and a record of 5-9, and fellow senior pitcher Jessica Stone is close behind with a 3.99 ERA and a 5-3 record.

“As pitchers, everyone feeds off of our energy, and as a staff, it’s vital that we put our team in situations that give us the chance to win,” Adams said. “As a senior, a lot of this falls on me, and moving forward I know I must be the steady hand for the staff to lean on.”

Last weekend, the Bulldogs got their first conference win. Samford hosted Furman for a three-game series that ended with Furman on top, 2-1. The series started off with a 6-5 loss on Saturday. Adams pitched 6.2 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and allowing five walks to take the loss.

“Our team is very young this year, and we have had a lot of underclassmen step up to play and fill important roles on the field,” Adams said. “Each time we take the field I believe we learn and get better as a whole from each player having the opportunity to gain more experience, to everyone learning to work together as one team.”

On Sunday, Sweeney hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to earn the 5-4 win over Furman in the first game of the doubleheader. Stone shut down the Paladins in the final inning, and Samford got the win. The Bulldogs couldn’t hold on to the momentum for the last game of the series, though, where they fell 9-0 to Furman.

“This season we are continually working hard, and as a predominantly young team, we learn more each time we step on the field,” Sweeney said.

Samford is now in the full swing of conference play. The team is looking to gain steam for upcoming SoCon matchups.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday, April 1, at noon in Chattanooga, Tenn., as they take on the Chattanooga Mocs.

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