June 1, 2012
Around the Regionals
Scores & Schedules
Miller, Samford come out
swinging, bury Mississippi State
By Andrew Krause
Fla. — Brandon Miller (right) starred
at the plate and in the field Friday as third-seeded Samford
upset No. 2 Mississippi State 5-0 in the first game of the
In the top of the second, Miller (1 for 2, 2 BB)
deposited an 0-2 pitch from Mississippi State ace Chris Stratton
into the parking lot surrounding Dick Howser Stadium to give SU
(40-21) an early 1-0 lead and emotional lift.
“It was right there,” Miller said of the 0-2
breaking ball. “It was a confidence booster for us to strike
first. That’s what Coach Dunn wanted us to do—go out there and
Miller’s second inning blast was his NCAA-leading
23rd of the season.
After Miller’s blast, Stratton settled in, and he
and Samford’s Charles Basford matched zeroes into the eighth
inning. While Stratton is considered to be a likely first-round
draft pick in the upcoming MLB Draft, it was Basford (10-2) who
managed to continually baffle MSU hitters and leave unscathed.
“The biggest thing was he just stayed down in the
zone,” Samford head coach Casey Dunn said. “He did a great job
of being consistent. He got a lot of weak swings because he was
down in the zone.”
The seventh and eighth innings turned out to be
extremely important, as Mississippi State finally started to
threaten. With MSU (39-23) still trailing 1-0 in the bottom of
the seventh and with a runner on first, Wes Rea hit a high fly
ball to right field that looked like it would carom off of the
fence, until Miller leapt, snagged it, and nearly doubled off
the runner at first.
“I thought it was hit pretty well,” Miller said.
“I got to the wall, found it, and managed to just time it right
and catch it.”
In the top of the eighth, Samford exploded for
four runs via three homers to force Stratton (11-2, 7.2 IP, 6 H,
4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) out of the game.
“They just did a good job of getting pitches,”
Stratton said. “They reminded me of Kentucky, the way they could
go down and get it. They had a good plan and they executed it
The home runs by Saxon Butler (1 for 5), C.K.
Irby (3 for 4, 2 RBI), and Christiaan Durdaller (1 for 4) put
the game out of reach and put any doubts about the legitimacy of
the Samford offense to rest.
“For all the questions [we get] about who you
play, how small is your ballpark, and those kinds of things
we’ve been asked, those balls got out of here pretty quick,”
Dunn said. “This is a good offensive club and when we take
advantage of mistakes, we have a chance to score some runs.”
(8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) pitched a scoreless eighth and
after surrendering a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth, he
was replaced by Irby, who retired the side in order.
MSU catcher Mitch Slauter, who accounted for two
of his team’s five base hits, was complimentary of Basford
“He went at hitters,” said Slauter, who went 2
for 4. “He did a real good job of competing against us.”
“I thought Samford did a great job today,” MSU
head coach John Cohen said. “We did not recognize pitches today.
I don’t know if it was a focus issue or what. Obviously our kids
are disappointed, but we have another opportunity to compete
Samford will play the winner of the Florida
State-UAB matchup at 7 p.m. Saturday, while Mississippi State
will play the loser of that game in an elimination game at noon.
(photos courtesy of Samford Media Relations Office)