Mavericks best the Trojans

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Wes Fortson

Staff Writer

The Troy University baseball team traveled to face off against the Mavericks of UT-Arlington Friday, April 17, but dropped the series 2-1 after losing an early six-run lead in the last game of the series.

That night in Arlington, Texas, got ugly as the weather pushed game one of the series into a doubleheader once again on Saturday, April 18.

The doubleheader was the fourth time this season that weather forced two games to be played on a Saturday.

“Anytime you’re on the road, that’s a challenge,” said assistant coach Mark Smartt. “Then we got up early Saturday for a long doubleheader day on the road, and I thought our players handled it very well.”

Game one was not in favor of the Trojans as they lost 15-4 to open the series.

Junior pitcher Grant Bennett dropped only his second loss of the season as he battled against the hot bats of the Mavericks.

Bennett stretched his outing to five innings after giving up six runs to UT-Arlington in the second inning.

However, Troy’s offense could not compensate for the large deficit as it put together just four runs against the Mavericks’ 15.

UT-Arlington put together a whopping 17 hits, including two doubles, a home run, and struck out only twice.

“I gotta give UT-Arlington credit,” said head coach Bobby Pierce. “They just started getting solid base hit after solid base hit, and mixed in a few bloopers to have some big innings throughout the whole series.”

Game two of the series was a different story for the Trojans as they fought for a 7-6 victory to tie the series on Saturday.

Junior pitcher Lucas Brown got the start for Troy in game two and was successful at avoiding the Mavericks’ bats through seven innings, but ran into trouble in the eighth.

The Trojans started out hot with some early runs in the second and third innings.

Senior first baseman Trevin Hall led off the second inning with a double and was quickly followed up by senior designated hitter David Hall who reached on a fielding error that allowed Trevin Hall to rush home on the play.

Two batters later, freshman shortstop Matt Sanders singled to left-center field and sophomore third baseman TJ Binder doubled down the right field line to knock home David Hall.

The third inning also led to three more runs for Troy with some help by junior left fielder Hoke Granger and junior right fielder Logan Hill.

Junior third baseman Bert Givens singled to left center and scored Hill.

Sanders stepped in again for Troy and came through with a sacrifice fly ball to left field that allowed Givens to score and put the Trojans on top 5-0 in just three innings.

Troy tacked on another pair of runs in the sixth to cushion their lead, but the Mavericks came back with a six-run eighth inning that cut things a little too close for the Trojans’ liking.

Senior pitcher Jeremy McGowan came in for Troy to close out the ninth inning and earn his fifth save of the season on the three quick outs.

On Sunday, April 19, Troy looked to take home another series win, but couldn’t find the pitching to close out the game and gave up an early six-run lead in a 10-7 loss to UT-Arlington.

The Trojans crossed home plate four times in the first inning, all with two outs.

The first run was thanks to senior second baseman Nick Masonia who singled to left field and allowed Hill to score all the way from second.

Binder followed up Masonia with another single to left field and scored David Hall from second.

Sanders also slipped a single through the right side of the infield and picked up two RBIs as Binder and Masonia touched home.

In the second inning, Troy added a pair of runs to the scoreboard, but was quickly answered by UT-Arlington, which scored a pair of its own runs on a double by freshman center fielder RJ Williams.

The Mavericks clawed their way back with multiple runs in the third and fourth innings that put them on top 9-6.

Troy closed the three-run gap by one in the sixth inning when junior pinch hitter Cameron Sanders ground out to the shortstop, but Sanders rushed home from third to give the Trojans a glimpse of hope.

However, the Mavericks put the nail in the coffin with a lone run in the bottom of the eighth that put the game out of reach for Troy and brought the final score to 10-7.

“They totally jumped right back in the game around the fourth and fifth inning, then extended their lead,” Pierce said. “We got one run after the first two innings to get to seven, and in the meantime they got to 10 and we couldn’t find a way to catch up.”

Troy defeated Kennesaw State 6-2 on Wednesday, April 22.

The Trojans will be back on the diamond at Riddle-Pace Field on Friday, April 24, against Texas State at 6 p.m.

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