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Troy sweeps Arkansas State, falls to Bama

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Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy baseball team picked up its first conference sweep of the year last weekend, downing Arkansas State on the road in a three-game stretch. The Trojans then faced in-state powerhouse Alabama on Tuesday, but they fell to the Crimson Tide 4-3.

The 28-13 Trojans (11-7 Sun Belt) rode in to Alabama’s Sewell-Thomas Stadium on a five-game winning streak before being bested in Tuscaloosa.

In Friday’s game one against the Red Wolves, all but one Trojan batter recorded a hit, helping the Trojans escape in the ninth inning with a 4-3 win.

Both squads scattered runs in the first three innings, but runs proved hard to come by in the latter portion of the game as pitching from both teams sparked a defensive battle.

Andrew Crane got the start for Troy, contributing 6.1 innings on the mound. The senior disposed of five hitters while allowing three runs on seven hits. C.J. Carter picked up the win after his 2.2 innings on the hill. The closer struck out four of the eight batters he faced and slammed the door on an Arkansas State comeback.

Troy tacked on a run in the seventh inning following a record-breaking triple from Rigsby Mosley. The triple was the team’s 20th of the year, setting Troy’s all-time record for triples in a season. An off-target throw to the plate sent Mosley home to tie the game at three runs each.

With bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Brandon Lockridge was hit by a pitch, sending what would be the game-winning run in for the score.

Carter and the Trojan defense shut the Red Wolves down in the bottom of the ninth, sealing the 4-3 win for Troy.

In Saturday’s action, Troy saw much different success at the plate, scoring a combined 25 runs between games two and three. The Red Wolves refused to go quietly, though, prompting an offensive shootout as Troy won games two and three 13-10 and 12-9, respectively.

In game two, all but three of the teams’ runs were scored in the fourth and fifth innings. A five-run effort in the fourth inning had the Trojans up 6-0, but the Red Wolves bounced back with nine runs in the bottom of the frame. The Trojans then answered with six runs in the top of the fifth inning.

After Arkansas State was held scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, the score stood 12-9 heading into the sixth inning.

Matt Sanders and Chase Smartt led the Trojans at the plate, both turning in three-hit performances. Sanders scored three times, while Smartt scored twice. The duo also tallied three RBIs together.

Troy’s Zack Lightsey picked up the win after only 1.1 innings on the hill. The sophomore allowed only one hit before Levi Thomas came in and pitched a perfect ninth inning, leaving the score to stand 13-10.

In the nightcap of Saturday’s action, Troy carried over some of the offensive performance from the earlier matchup, tallying 22 hits in the game, the most since 2013.

The Trojans were down by three runs early but used another explosive inning to drop six runs and take the lead. Five Trojan batters turned in three hit games, led by Sanders. Along with the three hits, Sanders also scored three runs.

Corey Childress earned the win on the mound, keeping the Red Wolves at bay for four innings. Carter came in for the save, pitching for 2.2 innings while striking out three.

In Tuesday night’s collision with Alabama, a four-run first inning proved to be all the Crimson Tide needed to escape Troy. The Trojans tallied only six hits to Alabama’s eight, with no Troy batter picking up more than one hit.

The Crimson Tide got off to a hot start following a three-run shot to get things going in the first. Troy answered to Alabama’s first inning with a single score in the second. Cole Prestegard connected on an RBI single to plate Lockridge, carving a notch in the 4-1 Bama lead.

Troy then scored the final two runs unearned in the eighth. After that, the comeback was stalled, and Alabama escaped with the one-run victory, 4-3.

Troy hosts UT-Arlington on Friday for a three-game series. The first pitch for tomorrow’s action is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.