The 2014 Troy University softball team started off strong but the game ended in a 5-5 tie against the Auburn Tigers due to heavy rain in front of a home crowd in the newly completed stadium on Thursday, Feb. 6.
“It is very disappointing for us,” said head coach Melanie Davis. “You never want a game to end in a tie. I am very pleased with some of the positives, and we had some quality at-bats. I really feel that we had Auburn on the ropes, and we could have pushed a little harder and maybe not even been in this circumstance.”
The season opener against Auburn was an immediate testament to the Lady Trojans’ batting skills as junior third baseman Michelle Phelps hit a grand slam for her first at-bat with Troy in the bottom of the first, giving the Trojans an early lead over the Tigers.
However, the Tigers played catchup towards the end of the game, scoring four points at the top of the sixth.
A three-run home run by Auburn’s junior catcher McKenzie Kilpatrick helped propel them to a tied position.
Immediately following the Auburn Tigers, Troy didn’t have time to rest as the next day, Friday, Feb. 7, marked the beginning of the 2014 Subway Invitational hosted on the Trojan’s home turf.
In game one, Troy fell to Northwestern State in a devastating 7-1 loss, in which Troy was the early scorer. It became clear in the second inning that they would not be able to hold on to that early lead due to the fact junior pitcher Sarah Thomas gave up five runs in 2.1 innings.
The Trojans also struggled to get hits off the Lady Demons’ pitcher, only getting three hits in the entire game.
Junior outfielder Erica Davis prevented the game from turning into a shutout by scoring a solo homer, the first of her career.
For game two against Kennesaw State on Saturday, Feb. 8, however, the Trojans were more than prepared as they walked away with a 5-0 win.
This game was marked by a grand slam for sophomore catcher Heather Johnston who accounted for four of the five scores, all of which occurred during the bottom of the sixth.
Freshman pitcher Meg Willis followed up, hitting a home run of her own.
For their third matchup of the Invitational, the Lady Trojans were on fire as they played again that Saturday against Memphis, driving themselves to a 9-0 victory, making it the second shut-out in a row.
“We had another good performance from our pitcher to get the shutout,” Davis said. “I’m very proud of our gang.”
Troy scored all nine of their points in the bottom of the fourth. The Trojans also had solid defense from their sophomore pitcher Ashley Rainey, who didn’t walk anyone and struck out two during the five-inning game.
Unfortunately, on Sunday, Feb. 9, as the Lady Trojans looked to face the University of Alabama in front of a record crowd of 2,078 spectators, the three-peat eluded them with a heartbreaking 7-1 loss.
Alabama was the first to score in the top of the third and their senior pitcher Jaclyn Traina had a total of 14 strikeouts during the game and held the game to a three-hitter.
For their next challenge, the Trojans will travel to Jacksonville, Fla. to play against Southern Illinois on Friday, Feb. 14 at 11:15 a.m. in the North Florida Invitational.