by Caleb Thomas
The bats came alive to start the season at the newly renovated Riddle-Pace Field last weekend. Troy University’s baseball team bashed 10 home runs on the way to an opening weekend sweep of the University of Evansville, and dismantled Alabama State University 10-2 on Tuesday.
Second-year head coach Skylar Meade has yet to lose a game on opening weekend, going 7-0 in games to start the year. Although there were some tough battles, a potent offense pushed the Trojans to victory in all three games this weekend.
In three games against the Evansville Aces, Troy scored a total of 31 runs. While the long ball potential by the Trojans helped, the other offensive aspects were firing on all cylinders too. Troy stole a whopping 16 bases in the series. Perhaps more impressive was the resilience of the team.
After a 12-7 Opening Day slugfest, Troy started its half of the fourth inning in the second game staring at a 3-0 deficit. However, with two runners on and two outs, left fielder Shane Lewis sent a ball over the wall to knot the game at three.
Lewis’s name was one heard a lot over the course of the weekend, as the sophomore had a stellar first series with the Trojans. He hit three home runs, two of which tied the game or gave Troy the lead, and had nine runs batted in. Time and time again, Lewis came up clutch in big moments, and Saturday’s game was a prime example.
“He was outstanding at the plate,” said Meade about Lewis in a postgame interview. “He’s just got to make contact with the baseball… if he can continue to do that, then he’s going to be a high-level player.”
In the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, Evansville had looked sure to win. Two more runs had given the Aces a 5-3 lead late, as a quiet hush had fallen over Riddle-Pace Field. It wasn’t quiet for long, however. Freshman Brooks Bryan, in his first collegiate at-bat, sparked a rally with a 357-foot homer to draw Troy within one run.
The Trojans tied the game with an RBI double by Hudson Hartsfield, and the game went to extra innings. Yet again, Evansville took a lead in the game, going up 7-5 this time. However, the Trojans battled back again, tying the game with RBI singles by Lewis and Parker Sessions. Kole Myers sent the fans into a frenzy with a walk-off ground ball, as Lewis slid across home plate to give Troy the win.
After the emotional win, Troy continued their offensive prowess with a high-scoring 11-10 win. A 10-2 lead almost evaporated, but the bullpen overcame adversity to close out the game.
Against the ASU Hornets, Caleb Bartolero hit his third home run of the season as the Trojans dominated the game, using a five run sixth inning to ice it.
The Trojans look to continue their perfect start this weekend against Stony Brook. The series is set to start Friday at Riddle-Pace field, with first pitch at 2 p.m.