Softball starts off season with two wins at home series

Wes Fortson

Staff Writer

After a hard loss in Auburn on Thursday, Feb. 5, the Trojan softball team hosted the Troy Classic at the Troy Softball Complex and split the series 2-2 on Feb. 6-8.

Troy opened its season on the road and suffered a loss at the hands of the Auburn Tigers, 15-5. Auburn came out with bats on fire in the bottom of the first, scoring 10 runs. It tacked on additional runs in the bottom of the second and third innings.

The Trojans managed to get on base and advance teammates in the first inning, but they were held to four runs until the fifth inning when senior first baseman Michelle Phelps reached home plate.

Returning home, Troy hosted the Troy Classic and finished the weekend with wins against Florida A&M and the University of Buffalo.

On Friday night, Feb. 6, Troy opened play with an 16-4 victory over FAMU. In only five innings, head coach Beth Mullins had her first career win with Troy and as a head coach.

The Trojans started off the game with a powerful lead of eight runs in the bottom of the first. Phelps and junior right fielder Amanda Winters combined for five RBIs and six hits during the game.

“I told the girls yesterday after a tough loss that it’s obviously not about me, but I asked them to get a little bit better today and they did,” Mullins said. “I think the fight they showed after a tough loss yesterday, I think it shows a lot about them. I’m excited that we got the win.”

On Saturday, Feb. 7, the Troy Classic continued with another dominating win for the Trojans. The softball team took down Buffalo in five innings with a score of 11-0.

The Trojans gashed the Bulls by adding three runs in the beginning of the third inning, so Buffalo attempted to stop the bleeding by bringing in sophomore reliever Madison Vaught.

Phelps had other plans. She launched a grand slam over the left center outfield wall only two batters later to bring the final score to 11-0.

Unfortunately, the Trojans awaited a much tougher competition Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night Troy faced off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and senior pitcher Miranda Kramer. Kramer is the current active NCAA leader in strikeouts and set a career high, when she struck out 19 batters.

Troy struggled to get on base against Kramer on the mound, who dominated the entire game.

The Hilltoppers only needed to score in the first inning, finishing the game 4-0.

“We came out today really well in the first game,” Mullins said. “Our pitching today, I thought was incredible.”

The final game of the weekend for Troy was a battle against the University of North Florida.

The Trojans fell 3-0 in the pitching duel between Troy’s junior Sara Mock and UNF’s senior pitcher Kayla Goff.

Troy managed to land only four hits and one walk, while the Ospreys accumulated eight hits and one walk.

Mullins complimented pitchers junior Ashley Rainey, senior Jaycee Affeldt and junior Sara Mock. The trio combined for a total of 23 strikeouts on the weekend.

“There’s always good and there’s always bad,” Mullins said. “The bad is that we gotta get better at making adjustments at the plate. We just did not do a great job of that the last two games.”

Troy softball resumes play in Athens, Georgia, at the Bulldog Invitational on Friday, Feb. 13, versus Elon University.

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