The Troy baseball team avoided a sweep against nationally ranked Coastal Carolina, the defending Sun Belt Champions, on the road last weekend.
With the lone win, the Trojans gained their first Sun Belt Conference win of the season and fell to 1-5 in conference play and 11-13 overall.
In the first game, the Trojans got the bats going but couldn’t put runs on the scoreboard.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Mark Smartt noted the team’s improvement.
“If we play like that the rest of the year, I like our chances,” Smartt said. “They’re a good team; we knew that coming in.
“The competition and the fight that I saw from our team has to be brought every night, and that’s the challenge for this team.”
Coastal Carolina struck first with a home run in the first inning and an RBI double in the second inning.
Pitcher Levi Thomas held the Chanticleers at bay for the next three innings.
Another RBI double in the sixth inning stretched the lead to four runs.
Thomas finished the game with nine strikeouts, his second-highest total since his 11-strikeout win over North Alabama.
Rush Hixon, Ryan Fultz and Lance Johnson pitched in relief of Thomas, and the trio allowed just two hits and zero runs.
The Trojans got on the board in the seventh inning when Dalton Sinquefield hit a RBI single, driving in Manning Early.
Troy kept its comeback bid going in the ninth inning with a RBI double from Sadler Goodwin, who drove in Rigsby Mosley.
The comeback bid, however, fell short when the Trojans fell 4-2. Thomas (3-2) picked up his second loss of the season, and Coastal Carolina’s Zach McCambley remained undefeated at 4-0.
In the second game of the series, the bats came out on fire in a back-and-forth game.
Troy struck first with a RBI single by Goodwin followed by two RBI by Sinquefield in the second and fourth innings, as the Trojans gained their first lead of the series.
The Chanticleers held their own with two runs in each of the first two innings.
After losing its early lead, Troy fought back with an RBI triple from Goodwin to gain a 6-4 advantage in the fourth inning.
Goodwin’s three hits and three RBIs for the game tied his season high in both categories.
The Trojans gave up a home run in the fifth inning, but Sinquefield attained his third RBI of the game which tied a season high for him as well.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Coastal Carolina’s Kyle Skeels ended the game with a two-run home run.
The series finale again featured an offensive shootout by the teams, but this time, the Trojans held off the Chanticleers and avoided the series sweep.
Down three runs early, Troy scored off back-to-back home runs by Drew Frederic and Logan Cerny.
Cerny’s grand slam was the first one since Goodwin’s against Louisiana in 2018.
Early Manning and Goodwin tacked on two RBIs to give the Trojans an 8-4 lead heading into the seventh inning.
The Chanticleers scored four runs in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Trojans responded with two of their own from RBIs by Early Manning and Chase Smartt.
Pitcher Ryan Fultz finished off the game for the Trojans and earned his first save of the season, as the Trojans picked up their first conference win of the season.
Next, the Trojans play a three-game series on March 29 at Riddle-Pace Field against Louisiana.