Denison, Troy top TTU, Samford

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy baseball team won its three-game series at home against Tennessee Tech over the weekend before downing in-state Samford on Tuesday.

The Trojans picked wins in games one and three on Friday and Sunday, battling their way to 10-7 and 13-12 victories, respectively. Troy fell on Saturday in what would have been an early series clinching victory, but came up short, 10-6.

The Sun Belt office also announced Tuesday that Trojan outfielder Joey Denison was the Community Coffee Player of the Week. The announcement came following a four-game stretch in which Denison racked up eight hits, 13 RBIs and seven runs scored.

Following the Tennessee Tech series, Troy made a midweek trip to Birmingham to face Samford, coming away with a hard-fought 5-4 win and a spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 highlight reel.

Junior pitcher Rush Hixon got national recognition when he ran from the mound into foul territory to make a diving catch of a foul ball. The clip of Hixon’s catch is on the Troy baseball Twitter @TroyTrojansBSB.

In Friday’s series opener against the Golden Eagles, senior Denison led the Trojans with a career night at the plate. Denison went 2-for-4 and tallied six RBIs off a triple and a two-run homer.

Corey Childress picked up the win on the mound for Troy, allowing only one hit.

In game two, a five-run third inning wasn’t enough to overcome Tennessee Tech’s double-digit scattered runs as Troy fell 10-6.

The Golden Eagles picked up at least one run in all but two innings, highlighted by a three-run outing in the seventh to put the game on ice.

Tennessee Tech got an early three-run lead after the top of the third, but Troy answered with a five-run inning to take what would be its only lead on the day. Matt Sanders led the Trojans at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a double and one RBI. Denison also tacked on an RBI with his only hit. C.J. Carter took the loss on the mound for Troy after allowing four runs in his two innings on the hill.

In game three, Troy bounced back to clinch the series, outlasting the Golden Eagles in a 13-12 ninth-inning thriller. The Trojans were forced to dig themselves out of a hole after falling behind four runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Denison drove home his 10th run of the series to start a rally for the home squad. Denison finished with three RBIs in his 2-5 performance.

Following an eight-run seventh inning for Tennessee Tech, Denison’s hit down the right field line with two outs sparked a six-run inning to keep pace with the Golden Eagles.

“What can you say about a game like that?” said Head Coach Mark Smartt. “I was really proud of our team. They hit some adversity and hung in there to take the lead back.

“We showed the desire and the will to win today. It’s an important win because it gives us the confidence that we can beat anybody else on our schedule this season.”

Carter earned his third win of the season in relief after putting in just over one inning on the mound.

In Tuesday’s action, Troy once again rallied late with two ninth-inning scores to steal the game from Samford. The Trojans were down by three runs after four innings, but pieced together a scoring rally in the eighth and ninth frames. Brandon Lockridge and Denison both had hits in the ninth, but the tying run was unearned after an off-target throw by the Samford shortstop.

Drew Frederic got credit for the go-ahead run after his single sent Denison home to steal the game in the top of the ninth. Lockridge and Denison both led the Trojans at the plate with two hits in five trips.

Lance Johnson was granted the win on the mound after allowing only one Bulldog to reach base in his two innings. Carter picked up the save after ending a hopeful Samford rally in the bottom of the ninth.

Troy looks ahead now to another three-game series at Riddle-Pace Field. The Trojans are set to take on the Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb starting Friday. Friday’s action is set to begin at 6 p.m., while Saturday’s and Sunday’s action is set to start at 3 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

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