Softball struggles, loses five straight

Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy softball team traveled to the East Coast last weekend to take on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, losing the road series before dropping a tough game on the road against South Alabama.

In their first meeting since 2014, Coastal Carolina swept Troy three games to zero.

All three games were decided by one run each, beginning with a 4-3 loss on Saturday. Troy scored the first two runs of the game with a run in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead.

The Chanticleers plated their first run in the second, but were answered by a homerun off the bat of senior slugger Becca Hartley in the third inning. Coastal responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 3-2.

In the fourth, Coastal tied the game with a solo homerun. After loading the bases, the Chanticleers took the lead on a four pitch walk drawn by outfielder Timi Tooley.

The teams combined for three hits and no runs over the next two-and-a-half innings as Coastal Carolina held on for the series-opening victory.

The nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader saw the Chanticleers take a 3-2 win on a walk-off. Troy had taken another early 2-0 lead in the first but was again answered with a pair of Coastal runs in the bottom of the inning.

With the game tied at two, each starting pitcher settled in, and a pitcher’s duel ensued. Neither scored over the next five innings, and the teams entered the final inning still locked at two runs apiece.

Troy was able to produce only one baserunner in the top half of the inning. In the bottom half, Tooley was batted in on a two-out single to end the game and clinch the series win for Coastal.

Sophomore pitcher Claire Graves, whose ERA is a 3.08 thus far after throwing 4.10 her freshman season, pitched her sixth complete game of the year and allowed just four hits.

In the series finale, the Trojans were again defeated late in the game after starting with an early lead. Hartley put the first runs on the board with a three-run homerun in the second.

The homerun was Hartley’s 12th of the season, a career-high. It took her just 34 games to reach 12 homeruns after hitting 11 in 56 games last season.

The Chanticleers got on the board with a run in the third before tying the contest with a two-run RBI double to center field in the fifth. Troy recaptured the lead in the sixth when it scored two runs by way of a wild pitch and a throwing error.

Coastal tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run RBI single. Two batters later, a sacrifice fly brought in another runner. Troy went three up, three down in its last chance and dropped the final game of the series.

Things went from bad to worse later in the week in a Wednesday night game against conference rival South Alabama.

The Trojans had no answers for the Jaguars’ bats, as Graves took the loss for the visitors. South Alabama scored eight runs with as many hits, leading to a game that was run-ruled after the fifth inning.

Troy fell behind 1-0 after the first, but gave up five runs and any chances for a comeback in the second inning.

Jaguar pitcher Devin Brown pitched a lights-out game from the circle, sending 10 Troy batters back to the dugout and walking none. Troy recorded only two hits in the game.

The loss was another hit for the Trojans during their rocky, 3-6 start to conference play. They will look to get back to their winning ways at home against UT-Arlington, with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday. Game one is scheduled for 1 p.m. before a 3 p.m. nightcap.

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