Softball splits with Lipscomb and Butler

Clayton Hurdle
Sports Writer

 

The Samford softball team played two fewer games than scheduled as snow cancelled half of last weekend’s Lipscomb tournament, but performed well in games against Lipscomb and Butler on Saturday.

Coach Mandy Burford’s Bulldogs rebounded from a 5-2 loss in the first game of the day to defeat Butler, one of the top teams in the Horizon League, thanks to a seventh-inning rally.

“We knew it was predicted to snow on Sunday,” Burford said. “We were really looking to get in our games for Saturday, and we didn’t have any rain. The weather was great.”

In the loss to Lipscomb, the Bulldogs sgained in an early lead, but lost it in the bottom of the fifth inning. Led by senior outfielder Caroline Mason, the Lady Bisons put up three runs to make the final score 5-2.

“Although we went up early on Lipscomb, we played sloppy defense and couldn’t sustain the lead,” Burford said. “We also couldn’t execute at the plate, and that hurt us.”

In the 4-3 victory against Butler, freshman infielder Abby Adams hit a solo home run in the top of the first inning to start off the scoring.

Butler answered with two straight runs, both batted in by senior utility player Lauren McNulty, to lead 2-1 at the end of the fifth inning.

In the seventh inning, several Bulldogs contributed to the three-run rally. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs.

Later, facing two outs, junior centerfielder Kayla Shaffer hit a two-run single to give Samford back the lead. Sophomore relief pitcher Nicole Bobrowski was also driven home before the Bulldogs’ last out of the inning, putting Samford ahead by two.

Butler fought back furiously, but starting pitcher Robyn Harmon, the Bulldogs’ senior from Matthews, Ala., held them to only one run in the bottom of the seventh, helping Samford escape with a 4-3 victory.

“We battled back against Butler,” Burford said. “Our defense settled in at the end and got the three outs we needed. It was very refreshing to get the monkey off our backs.”

The two games pulled Samford to a 3-4 record to start the season, its first under Burford’s leadership.

The win against Butler was the red-hot Harmon’s second in as many starts. She gave up two runs in five innings on the mound.

Offensively, Shaffer led the Bulldogs with a .375 hitting percentage over the weekend, driving in two runs in the leadoff spot.

“Shaffer has had a good first two weeks,” Burford said. “She’s contributed offensively and played great defense.”

The Bulldogs open a five-game home stand on Wednesday as they take on Louisiana-Monroe at 5 p.m.

“We’ve got five games this week and we’re hoping to have a big crowd,” Burford said. “Our team motto has been to dominate and they’ve taken it to heart.”

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