/Softball defeats two top-10 teams

Softball defeats two top-10 teams

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Michael Shipma

Staff Writer

The Troy softball team won two of its last four games, with road wins against No. 10 Florida State and No. 7 UL Lafayette, but dropped the last two games in its series against the Cajuns.

The Trojans (18-14, 4-5 Sun Belt) are now placed sixth in the Sun Belt standings as of Monday, March 23.

Coming off an impressive outing at home against Appalachian State, the Trojans traveled to Tallahassee, Florida, to play Florida State (26-7, 8-1 ACC) on Wednesday, March 18.

Troy, which had been enjoying offensive success in the past few games, struggled to get hits and score runs early against FSU’s pitcher. Redshirt sophomore Jessica Burroughs recorded 13 strikeouts on the night.

The Seminoles, however, were able to generate some offense against Troy’s senior pitcher Jaycee Affeldt, and held a 4-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh inning.

The Trojans refused to be put away, and scored three runs in the seventh inning, forcing the game into extra innings. Sophomore second baseman Becca Hartley hit two key home runs during the night, along with three RBIs, to lead the comeback for the Trojans.

A two-run homer from Hartley in the eighth was all Troy needed to win 6-4, as head coach Beth Mullins notched her first win against a top-10 opponent as a coach in her career, and Troy’s first since 2012.

“I’m very proud of the fight and finish we showed today,” Mullins said. “I think we have been working to get better every day at practice, and have been playing good softball the last week and a half.”

After the big win, the Trojans traveled to play their regular season series at No. 7 UL Lafayette (25-4, 10-2 Sun Belt) on Saturday, March 21, for the first two games of the series.

Despite being down 5-1 after three innings, the Trojans showed incredible resilience against the difficult opponent. Troy managed to outplay UL Lafayette, scoring eight unanswered runs to win 9-5.

The Trojans took advantage of poor pitching by the Ragin’ Cajuns, scoring nine runs on just three hits.

Junior pitcher Ashley Rainey picked up the win for the Trojans, as they snapped UL Lafayette’s 27-game home win streak. Troy’s back-to-back wins against top-10 teams was a first in school history.

Junior third baseman Khadija Neely and catcher Hannah Day both recorded two RBIs for the game.

The second game of the doubleheader was a different story for the Trojans, who struggled against an eight-strikeout performance from redshirt senior pitcher Christina Hamilton.

Rainey hit a two-run homer in the first to go up early, but ULL roared back with five runs in the bottom of the first.

The two teams traded runs later in the game, as the Ragin’ Cajuns took the win 6-3 and evened the series. Hartley led the Trojans with one RBI and two runs scored.

The Trojans returned to action the next day for the series finale, looking to bounce back from the loss.

In the end, however, ULL was not to be denied, as it scored 12 runs against the Trojans, with seven of them coming in the first inning.

Troy’s only runs came from solo homers from Rainey and junior right fielder Amanda Winters in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.

Hamilton had a solid performance from the mound for the Ragin’ Cajuns, forcing 10 flyouts and two strikeouts.

Junior pitcher Sara Mock took the loss for the Trojans, who have now lost two in a row.

The Trojans returned to action on Wednesday, March 24, for a double-header on the road against Kennesaw State.