Softball dominates in Troy Invite, goes 4-1

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy softball team got off to a hot start in 2016 in its season-opening Trojan Invite at the Troy Softball Complex.

It picked up wins against Eastern Michigan, Evansville and Alabama State, but dropped its game against Marshall.

The Trojans (4-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) opened up their season with a matchup against Eastern Michigan on Friday, Feb. 12, and raced out to an 8-0 lead after the first inning. After that, the game was never really in doubt.

Troy hit four home runs as a team to earn a 14-1 victory in five innings.

Freshman pitcher Claire Graves got the win for the hosting Trojans, striking out two batters and allowing only two hits.

The second day of the invite featured a doubleheader for the Trojans, starting with Evansville, a team that brought a 3-0 record into the game. The Trojans took longer to find their offensive rhythm in this game, putting up its first run in the fourth inning off a three-run homer from junior Becca Hartley.

It gave Troy the 3-2 lead going into the fifth.

The Aces bounced back from the deficit, however, putting up two more runs behind nine total hits in the game. At the bottom of the seventh inning, Hartley sent another ball over the fence to tie the game at four.

The tying run set up a walk-off single to left field from freshman third baseman Amber Jones, who brought in the game-winning run.

Senior pitcher Ashley Rainey picked up her first win of the season, striking out three batters, walking none and giving up three hits.

After picking up two wins in the tournament, Troy looked to continue its high level of play in a rematch against Eastern Michigan.

The Trojans did not disappoint, as they cruised to a 13-2 victory that was also decided in five innings. Senior catcher Hannah Day started off a seven-run first inning with a three-run bomb that went over the wall, giving the home team a lead that was never threatened.

Eastern Michigan got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with a pair of runs, but were unable to get much offense going against Rainey. She earned her second win of the season by giving up just four hits.

Troy’s next game, the first of two games on Sunday, Feb. 14, needed extra innings, as the Trojans fell to Marshall in eight innings.

Both sides put up three runs in the first. Senior outfielder Amanda Winters hit a two-run homer and Rainey hit an RBI double that tied the game at the bottom of the first.

With the exception of two runs in the third inning from Marshall, both sides went scoreless through the sixth inning. Sophomore outfielder Carli Kayler hit an RBI triple that made the score 5-4 in favor of Marshall.

On the following batter, however, Kayler scored an unearned run that tied the game and forced an eighth inning.

The Herd responded with a two-run homer from freshman infielder Dianna Braiss. It went unanswered in the bottom of the eighth to hand the Trojans their first loss of the season.

Troy wrapped up the Invite with the second game of the doubleheader against Alabama State. Four runs scored in both the first and fourth innings gave the Trojans the lift they needed to hold off the Hornets, who tried to claw their way back into the game.

Two hits and two RBIs from Hartley led Troy to the 9-5 victory, and Rainey picked up her second win of the year on a three-strikeout, no-walk performance.

The Trojans will play Ole Miss in game one of the Troy Classic on Friday, Feb. 19. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.

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