Baseball rallies to solidify DH sweep over Samford
Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson
Junior Steve Eagerton hurled seven shutout innings to spark a 4-0 win in Game One while the Dolphins rallied for six unanswered runs to win an 8-7 contest in seven innings in Game Two to lead the JU Baseball team to a doubleheader sweep over Samford, Saturday afternoon at John Sessions Stadium.

JU (5-2) won the first game in less than two hours due to the methodical pitching of Eagerton while two costly errors by SU (5-3) in the final inning spelled doom for the Bulldogs in the night cap.

“Steve was unbelievable in the first game,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We gave him an early lead and he got comfortable. Our bullpen did a great job of closing things out for us when it looked like Samford was about to get something going.

“In the second game, we put three new guys in the lineup and they ended up with five of our 10 hits. Even though we were playing a short game, we never gave up and we took advantage of some opportunities. Hopefully we can put together another good game and try to make this a great weekend for us.”

In Game One, Eagerton (1-0) got the win after scattering eight hits while walking two with a strikeout in seven innings. Freshman Will Flor added 1.2 innings of scoreless relief before freshman Chris Anderson notched his second save of the year by getting the final out of the contest.

Lex Rutledge (1-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with four walks and eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

Freshman third baseman Taylor Ratliff led the JU offense by going 2-for-2.

JU scored three runs in the bottom of the first when sophomore first baseman Adam Brett Walker hit a sacrifice fly, junior designated hitter Kevin Lehane drove in a run with a ground out to second and junior shortstop Jimmy Howick hit an RBI single through the left side.

The Dolphins would add another run in the second when junior left fielder Jonathan Murphy hit an RBI ground out to short.

In the second game, Anderson (1-0) got the win for the Dolphins after hurling an inning of scoreless relief to set up the rally. Senior Brian Gilroy also added 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to keep JU in the contest. Junior Sean Green got the no-decision after allowing five runs (one earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts in four innings of work.

Andrew Jones (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing two unearned runs in one inning of relief.

Freshman second baseman Colin Monagle led the Dolphins offensively in his first collegiate start by going 3-for-3 with a double. Walker had a game-high three RBI while Ratliff also added two RBI.

Michael Johnson, Saxon Butler and Gardner Richey each finished with multiple hits to lead the Bulldogs.

Samford jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first when the Bulldogs took advantage of two fielding errors by the Dolphins. The Bulldogs added another run in the second when Johnson scored from third on a wild pitch.

JU got on the board with a run in the second Ratliff hit a sacrifice fly to left field. The Dolphins would cut the margin to 5-2 in the fourth when Murphy hit an RBI single up the middle.

The Bulldogs increased the lead to 7-2 in the fifth when Stephen Ballard hit a sacrifice fly to right field and Gary Cramer scored from third on a double steal.

The Dolphins answered back with a run in the bottom of the frame when Walker scored from third on a double play ball. JU cut the deficit to 7-6 in the bottom of the sixth when Walker hit a three-run double to left center.

In their final at-bat, the Dolphins got a glimmer of hope when freshman pinch hitter Zac Houck reached on a fielding error by second baseman Michael Johnson with one out. In the next at-bat, Monagle laced a single through the right side with Houck in motion to put runners on first and third. Ratliff followed with a fielder’s choice to second when Johnson attempted to gun down senior pinch runner Chris Connelly at second base but was too late, Houck scored from third on the play to tie the game. In the next at-bat, Murphy hit a chopper to short but Tyler Filliben’s throw to second sailed high, allowing Connelly to score from second and end the game.

JU and Samford will conclude its four-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m. The contest can be followed on ASun.TV or livestats by logging onto