Know the Regional Foe: Samford University
- Mascot: Bulldogs
- Colors: Red and Blue (the student fan club is called The Red Sea)
- Founded: 1841
- Enrollment: 4,440
- Location: Homewood, Alabama (a suburb of Birmingham and... it has a sister city in Illinois)
- Facility: Joe Lee Griffin Field (1,000-seat facility built in 2000)
- Conference: Southern Conference
- Head Coach: Casey Dunn
- Assistant Coaches: Tony David, Associate Head Coach; Mick Fieldbinder, Assistant Coach; Rucker Taylor, Assistant Coach; and Gerald Tuck, Administrative Assistant.
- College World Series Appearances: 0
- NCAA Postseason Appearances: The trip to Tallahassee, FL will be their first-ever NCAA Regional appearance in program history.
- Record: (39-21 overall [school record], 19-11 in Southern Conference, 18-10 HOME, 17-11 AWAY, 4-0 NEUTRAL)
- Last 10 Games: 7-3 (played Appalachian State four times in the last 10 games and went 2-2... they also defeated Oklahoma and Florida each once in that stretch.)
- How they got here: Won the Southern Conference Tournament for the first time in program history with a 9-6, 10-inning win over No. 6 seed Georgia Southern after defeating No. 5 Western Carolina, No. 1 Appalachian State, and No. 8 Furman prior. Samford averaged 10 runs a game in the SoCon tournament
The No. 3 seed Samford Bulldogs finished the regular season will be some big wins over Florida and Oklahoma at Oklahoma. They also won their first-ever SoCo Tournament in dramatic fashion by putting up some huge batting numbers. Samford is one of three teams (MSU and UAB) in the Tallahassee Regional to win their conference tournament and earn automatic automatic bids into the postseason.
But hold the phone... Samford senior pitcher Josh Martin leads the nation in wins with 12 and only one loss. Cohen has confirmed MSU and former Tupelo standout Chris Stratton (11-1 with an 2.21 ERA and tied for fourth in the nation in wins) will pitch Friday against the "other" Bulldogs at 11 a.m. Central in Tallahassee at host Florida State University. Will Josh Martin pitch? Coach Casey Dunn says nope... right hander Charles Basford (9-2 with an ERA of 3.95) will pitch against State because of Martin's 110+ pitches last Friday and 120+ last Wednesday. Samford will save Martin for the Satruday Game 2 start. Speaking of Samford pitching, sophomore reliever Lex Rutledge is another product of Tupelo High School and also Class of 2009 teammate of Stratton's. Talk about a wild story that would be if both happen to be on the same mound in the same game for different teams today.
So what about this Samford hitting? The team has hit a total of 62 dingers and a batting average of .307 in the 2012 season. Senior right field Brandon Miller leads the nation in home runs with 22. No too shabby when you consider the big bat ruling change this season. And Miller's other team components, first baseman Saxon Butler and center field Phillip Ervin, both have 14 homers (tied for 21st in the nation) and 10 respectfully.
View more Samford Bulldog baseball statistics and a 2012 season recap here.
Here's today's Daily Grind Show with Justin Sutton and Joe Abston with a few Samford interviews.
All in all, Samford isn't a push-around. If the hotness of MSU has worn off and the intensity of Samford being in their first regional ever stays high, this could get surprisingly ugly for the Maroon and White nation. But I don't see that happening.
MY PREDICTION: No. 2 seed Mississippi State cruises win a 5-1 win over Samford and plays No. 1 seed Florida State, after they defeat No. 4 seed UAB, Saturday at 6 p.m. Central on ESPN2.