GREENVILLE, S.C. — Samuel Strickland fired six innings of two-hit shutout baseball and Wyatt Burns finished it off with three scoreless frames to power No. 2 seed Samford to a 4-0 blanking of No. 7 seed Furman in Southern Conference Tournament opening round action Wednesday afternoon at Fluor Field.
Furman (24-27) will now play the loser of tonight’s Wofford-East Tennessee State in a Thursday elimination game beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Strickland (8-2), the SoCon’s Freshman of the Year, commanded the contest from the start, working around a leadoff error by striking out the side in the first inning on the way to retiring 11 straight before Brandon Elmy collected Furman’s first hit with a two-out single in the fourth. The Bulldog left-hander allowed only two hits over six frames and recorded a season high 10 strikeouts before handing the ball to Burns, who worked the final three frames while striking out two to collect his 11th save of the season.
Strickland and Samford (33-24) got all the runs they would need in the bottom of the first when Aryton Schafer stroked a two-out RBI single into left center field to score Brooks Carlson. Schafer’s hit was set up after Furman second baseman Sims Griffith’s throw to first base to complete a potential inning ending double play pulled Elmy off the bag.
The Paladins and starting pitcher Grant Schuermann kept it a one-run deficit until the bottom of the eighth when Schuermann yielded a pair of singles and, following a wild pitch, a walk to load the bases. His replacement, Tyler Kimbrell, gave up a two-run single to Carlson and a sacrifice fly to Connor Burns to stretch the lead to 4-0.
Wyatt Burns allowed a one-out single in the ninth before closing it out with a strikeout and fly ball.
Schuermann was charged with four runs on eight hits over seven-plus innings of work. He walked two and struck out one.
Furman finished with four hits, and Samford registered nine hits, led by Branden Fryman’s 3-for-4 performance.