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Baseball tops Mountaineers in road series

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Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy baseball team clinched a three-game series win over Sun Belt rival Appalachian State to improve to a 22-10 overall record, Troy’s third conference series win so far this season.

The Trojans bounced back from a 5-2 loss to the Mountaineers with back-to-back wins that featured their second 10-run inning in a week in the series finale. Already up 4-2 going into the top of the fourth frame, Troy exploded for 10 runs thanks in part to two triples and a home run to take control of the contest and the series.

Troy (22-10, 7-5 Sun Belt) has won four of its last five heading into a home series with conference leader Coastal Carolina.

In Friday’s series opener, a 12-hit game for the Trojans was not enough to get the win as Troy fell 5-2. Troy scored its only two runs during the second and fourth innings and couldn’t bring in enough runners to overcome two-run spurts from the hosts in the third and eighth innings.

“We got 12 hits, but none of them came in the clutch and we got just two runs,” said Head Coach Mark Smartt. “I don’t think we were as prepared as we should’ve been.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t match the type of intensity that is required to compete on a Friday night in this league.”

Matt Sanders and Brody Binder led the Trojans at the plate, combining for six hits. The senior duo each had three hits, finishing 3-4 on the night. Despite its double-digit hit total, Troy was 0-10 at the plate when runners were in scoring position.

Andrew Crane was charged with the loss after his 7.2 innings on the mound. The senior allowed five runs on eight hits, but did strike out eight.

Troy bounced back on Saturday’s game to even the series with a 6-2 win. Troy followed Friday’s strong showing at the plate by delivering 10 hits, outpacing Appalachian State’s four hits.

Sanders once again led Troy at the plate, connecting twice during his three trips to bat. Sanders also chipped in an RBI and scored once. Brandon Lockridge and Rigsby Mosley followed with two hits each to pace the Trojan offense.

Troy opened the game with one hit in the first inning to take the lead and never looked back. The visitors tacked on three runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth to secure the lead. The Mountaineers managed just one run in both the second and fourth innings.

Daren Osby kept his undefeated pitching streak alive as he picked up his fifth win of the year. Osby pitched six innings on the mound, tallying five strikeouts and allowing just four hits.

In Sunday’s finale, Troy clinched the series in deciding fashion with a 15-3 win fueled by a red-hot fourth inning. Troy was held scoreless for only three innings, resulting in the second-most runs scored all year, second only to Wednesday’s matchup.

Troy got out to an early start, scoring a combined four runs in the first two innings. After that, the Trojans exploded for 10 runs behind the bats of Binder and Drew Frederic.

Frederic finished the day with four hits in his five at-bats. The sophomore connected on an RBI triple in the fourth inning to bring in Sanders and record one of his three RBIs. Binder also batted 4-5 in the game with two of his three RBIs coming in the fourth.

Junior pitcher Rush Hixon picked up the win on the mound for Troy, allowing seven hits in five innings of work.

C.J. Carter came in to finish out the final two innings for the Trojans, picking up four strikeouts in the process.

“I’m proud of the way we played today,” Smartt said. “We did good things all the way around today.”

Troy now looks ahead to a three-game set against conference leader Coastal Carolina. Game one of the series is set to begin tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Riddle-Pace Field. Games two and three are set for Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.

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