GREENVILLE, S.C. (Wofford SID) – On Saturday afternoon, the Wofford College baseball team used a 5-2 win over Samford in the 2019 Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field to advance to the title game. The Bulldogs scored in the first inning and the Terriers tied the game at one in the fourth inning. Wofford scored twice in the fifth inning and Samford plated one run in the sixth for a 3-2 score. In the bottom of the seventh, a two-run double by Hudson Byorick gave the Terriers a 5-2 lead that would prove to be the final score.
Wofford, the #2 seed in the tournament, is 36-23 on the season and #1 seed Samford is 41-18 overall. The Terriers have reached the championship game for the second time in school history (2007). Hudson Byorick led the team with two hits and a pair of RBIs, while Mike Brown added two hits. Sonny DiChiara had three hits and two RBIs for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs opened the game with a double. With one out, an RBI single made it 1-0. Another single and a walk had the bases loaded with two outs when a strikeout ended the top of the first. Wofford was retired in order in their half of the first inning. Samford had a single with one out in the second inning when the Terriers turned a double play. The Terriers were retired in order to end the second frame.
Samford added a single in the third inning but stranded the runner at second base. Andew Orzel led off the bottom of the third with a single, but a fielder’s choice and double play ended the inning. The Bulldogs went in order in the top of the fourth. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Hudson Byorick singled and he scored on a triple into the right field corner by Lawson Hill to tie the game.
In the top of the fifth, the Bulldogs were retired in order which included two strikeouts. Colin Davis led off the bottom of the fifth with a bunt single. Andrew Orzel reached on a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt that moved Davis to third base. A sacrifice bunt by Alec Cargin scored Davis for a 2-1 lead. With two outs, Mike Brown reached on an infield single that drove in Orzel for a 3-1 score.
To lead off the sixth inning, Sonny DiChiara hit his 20th home run of the season to cut the lead to 3-2. A fly ball and a pair of strikeouts ended the top half. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Lawson Hill walked. John Dempsey reached on an error which moved Hill to third base. A fly ball ended the scoring chance for the Terriers. The Bulldogs went in order to send the game to the seventh inning stretch. With two outs, Reed Massey reached on a fielding error and Mike Brown followed with a single to give Wofford runners on the corners. Mike Brown stole second and a walk to Brett Rodriguez loaded the bases. A double off the Green Monster in left field by Hudson Byorick drove in two runs for a 5-2 advantage.
The Bulldogs started the eighth inning with a batter reaching on an error. Colin Davis made a diving catch in right centerfield and made the throw back to first base for the double play. A fly ball ended the top of the eighth. Wofford was retired in order in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Bulldogs went in order in the top of the ninth inning to end the game.
Wofford starter Cameron Bloodworth (3-2) threw 5.1 innings with two runs allowed on six hits, along with four strikeouts and one walk. Reece Maniscalco earned his sixth save of the season by going the final 3.2 innings without allowing a hit and striking out two batters. He faced the minimum in his appearance.
Samuel Strickland (7-3) started for Samford and went 4.1 innings with three runs allowed on four hits. He did not issue a walk and had three strikeouts. Carson Cupo threw 2.1 innings with two unearned runs allowed on three hits and two strikeouts. Gene Hurst closed the game with the final 1.1 innings and had two strikeouts.
The Terriers will advance to the championship game on Sunday at noon. Wofford will face either #1 seed Samford, #4 seed Mercer or #6 seed ETSU depending on the outcome of the final two games on Saturday.