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Furman To Battle Samford In Wednesday SoCon Tournament First Round

Grant Schuermann
Grant Schuermann

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman's baseball team will open Southern Conference Tournament play on Wednesday when it takes on Samford in a 4:00 p.m. first round matchup at Fluor Field in downtown Greenville.

Furman (24-26, 9-12 SoCon), the No. 7 seed is making its 26th SoCon Tournament appearance, where it will face No. 2 seed Samford (32-24, 16-9 SoCon) for the fifth time in tournament play. The Bulldogs, who swept the Paladins in the three-game regular season series at Latham Stadium (Mar. 29-31), are 4-0 versus the Paladins in tournament action, having posted a 2-0 shutout in 2016 in an elimination game at Fluor Field.

Furman finished as 2017 SoCon Tournament runner-up, falling to UNCG, 13-1, in the championship elimination contest after advancing out of the loser's bracket to beat the Spartans, 6-4, to force the deciding game in the double elimination format.

The Paladins are 45-45 all-time in SoCon Tournament play and own a pair of tournament championships (1991 & '05), as well as three runner-up finishes (1997, '00, and '17).

All SoCon Tournament games will be video live streamed over the SoCon Digital Network.  Fans can also follow the action via Furman's audio feed, available via campus station 95.9 FM and streamed over Stretch Audio, with the "Voice of the Paladins" Dan Scott on the call along with analyst Tom Van Hoy.   StatBroadcast live stats will also be available.  Links to video, audio, and live stats can be found at FurmanPaladins.com, and timely updates will be provided thru twitter @FurmanBaseball.

Senior left-hander Grant Schuermann (4-7, 4.96 ERA) is scheduled to get the start for Furman.  The Cincinnati, Ohio, product, who hurled a complete game in his last start on May 12, a 6-5 road victory over East Tennessee State, took the loss after allowing four runs on 11 hits over eight innings in the Paladins' 4-2 defeat to Samford on Mar. 30.  He has had success against the Bulldogs in his career, however, including a complete game 92-pitch, 3-2 victory in Birmingham, last year.

Samford's slated starter is league freshman of the year, left-hander Sam Strickland (7-2, 2.05 ERA).

The Paladins, who last took the field on May 13 in a 9-4 series clinching win at ETSU, had four games washed out last week due to heavy rain and unplayable field conditions, including a three-game home league series against UNCG.

Furman is paced offensively by freshman center fielder Ben Anderson (.376, 3 HR, 39 RBI), who on Monday garnered first team All-SoCon honors in balloting by league head coaches.  The LaGrange, Ga., product earned starts in all 50 regular season games and, in addition to pacing Furman in batting average and RBI, also led the Paladins in runs (46), hits (73), triples (7), total bases (107), slugging percentage (.552), on-base percentage (.477), and multi-hit games (22).  He has also  reached base in a team-best 32 consecutive games. 

Anderson established a new school season triples standard with his seventh three-bag hit, which drove in a pair of runs, in a 9-4 win over ETSU.  He ranks fourth nationally in the category.

Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information