With the moderate success that followed the Troy softball team throughout the past couple weekends fading in the background, the start of Sun Belt Conference play in Bowling Green, Ky., on March 22 and 23 ended in nothing but heartbreak.
The games began on Saturday, March 22, as the Trojans stepped to the plate for the first time officially pitting themselves against their conference competition in the 2014 season.
Although game one ended in a 3-0 loss for Troy against Western Kentucky, it was by no means for lack of heart.
Despite a rocky start, allowing for one run in the first inning, junior pitcher Jaycee Affeldt more than proved her worth by putting away 12 straight batters until Western Kentucky got back into the game at the bottom of the fifth.
Overall, the game was a competition of fielding and who could bring those hitters home as Troy collected a total of five hits to Western Kentucky’s six, the only difference in game being the runs on scoreboard.
Unfortunately, game two did not see such equal comparison as the Hilltoppers were out for vengeance and the Trojans would be forced to take a devastating 8-1 loss.
Sophomore pitcher Ashley Rainey would take the loss this time, giving up six hits for the consequential six runs scored in the first half of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, she saw relief from sophomore pitchers Sara Mock and Rachel Rigney. Both gave up one run during the fifth inning.
The Trojans would pick up their only run for the game off an RBI single hit by freshman shortstop Becca Hartley.
After this game, the Trojans and the Hilltoppers would retire for the night before resuming play the next day, Sunday, March 23, in game three.
This game, like the two before would end in a loss for Troy, the scoreboard showing 5-0 as the teams left the field.
This game would feature another solid pitching game by Affeldt who threw 112 pitches for 74 strikes, but would eventually take the loss for the Trojans, despite an impressive attempt by the Trojans to take back the field in the seventh with senior first baseman Katie McAllister taking her base off an error and then sophomore outfielder Amanda Winters advancing on a walk.
However, neither was able to cross the plate and bring home a run for Troy who would be forced to take another shutout on the books.
Troy faced the Jaguars on Wednesday, March 26, and lost 9-1.
For their next competition, Troy will go head-to-head against Georgia State here on their own new turf on Saturday, March 29, at 1:30 p.m.