/Baseball Opening Weekend

Baseball Opening Weekend

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By: Andrew Clay

MainBaseballArticle_ByJoshuaThurston

Photo by: Joshua Thurston

Troy University baseball opened the weekend with a monstrous combined score of 53-10 over Florida A&M in a four game series.

The Trojans put on an offensive show with 10 batters ending the weekend with an average over .300.

Logan Pierce was the hot topic at the plate for Troy after being tabbed the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Preseason Player of the year, but Danny Collins stole the show with a historic weekend.

Collins finished the series with a .571 batting average. In the second game of the series, Collins hit for the cycle for the first time in his life.

“It is always special to hit for something like the cycle,” Collins said. “It isn’t something that you see everyday. It is the first time I’ve done something like that so it was pretty exciting, especially ending it with an infield hit like that.”

He was the first Trojan to hit for the cycle since 2009 when Myles Hoyle did it against Memphis.

The Trojans finished up their weekend with a perfect 4-0 record, and it didn’t even require full games. The “mercy rule”, where a game is called if one team is up by ten or more runs after the 5th inning, was applied in the three final games of the weekend.

Troy will travel to Orlando, Fla. next weekend for the UCF tournament. They will take on Texas Tech. Friday at 11 a.m., followed by weekend games against Connecticut and Central Florida.

“It was a good weekend,” head coach Bobby Pierce said. “My biggest concern right now is trying to get ready for Orlando.”

Game 1 – Opening Night

Troy opened the season at Riddle-Pace Field on Friday night, Feb. 15, with a new pitcher.

Since 2009, Tyler Ray opened up the season for the Trojans, but it was junior right-hander Will Starling who jogged out to the mound in 2013.

Starling is a hometown kid from Pike Liberal Arts Academy and to start off the game watched his former coach throw out the first pitch.

Starling finished the night allowing one hit and no runs after three innings of work and earned the win.

The junior also managed to notch five K’s and only gave up one walk in the debut.

The Trojan offense held up its part of the bargain by giving the right hander a two run lead to work with in the first inning.

Tyler Vaughn started the season on the right foot for the Trojan batters by notching a single in the first at bat of the season.

Vaughn stole second as the next two batters struck out and ground out.

Collins game to the plate and was hit by a pitch putting two men on for junior 1st basemen Trae Santos.

A wild pitch put the runners in scoring position before Santos notched a single and the Trojans never looked back.

Troy added six more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to cushion their lead before cruising to an 8-2 victory over the Rattlers.

 

Game 2 – Mercy give us Mercy

The second game of the weekend started on a chilly Saturday afternoon, but the Trojan bats were white hot, scoring 22 runs and coming within a double of NCAA history.

Junior starting pitcher Tanner Hicks gave up two runs to FAMU in the top of the 1st inning, but that was the only glimmer of hope for the Rattlers all day.

The top seven batters for the Trojans all finished the day with a batting average of at least .500 but none were more effective than Danny Collins and Trae Santos.

Collins went five for six while batting for the cycle and driving in six runs.

Trae Santos ended the game batting three for six and was a double short of hitting the cycle.

That missing double cost the Trojans a chance at history but the not the game.

This game marked the third straight year that Troy has scored at least 20 runs in a game and it could have been more.

The FAMU coach asked the mercy rule be instated after the top of the sixth inning ended and with it the game.

 

Games 3 – Showing No Mercy

In the final two games of the series the Trojan’s continued to pile on the runs defeating the Rattlers 11-1 to close out the Saturday double header.

The Trojans jumped off to an early lead, in the second game of the double header Saturday as Santos’ single drove in Logan Pierce and never looked back.

Troy sent five pitchers out to the mound in the six and a half inning game with junior left hander Shane McCain earning the win.

McCain worked through four winning giving up one run on four hits, while striking out four.

The game was called after the top of seventh inning once again robbing fans of the beloved seventh inning stretch.

Game 4 – Bringing out the Brooms

A chilly Sunday morning brought no relief for Florida A&M as Troy monopolized on a giant first inning to win easily.

In the bottom of the first the Trojans capitalized on singles and doubles to drive in six runs.

The rattlers appeared to bounce back with two runs in the top of the second but the four run deficit was as close as the game would get.

In the bottom of the fourth the Trojans would add to the lead with six more runs going up 12-2.

The score would remain that was as the game ended after the top half of the seventh inning.

Although the Trojans dominated the weekend, center fielder Ali Knowles left the fourth game early with what appeared to be a hand or wrist injury.

While tracking down a hit to center field, Knowles dove for the ball and got up in obvious pain. The Trojans carried on without their center fielder and go the win.

“My biggest concern right now is that every time we tee it up we seem to have somebody go down,” Pierce said. “Now Ali Knowles seems to have a hand problem after that dive play. They took him over to get an x-ray so we will see how it goes.”