Trojans pick up pair of wins in Arizona, top Samford

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy softball team split its four weekend games at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Arizona, defeating Bryant and Montana, but losing to Colorado State and another game to Montana. That tournament was followed up by a 9-6 win on Wednesday at Samford.

The Trojans lost their first game of the tournament 4-3 in extra innings to Montana on Friday, but bounced back with a 5-2 win over Bryant the next day. Later on Saturday, Troy was shut out by a score of 5-0 by Colorado State before wrapping up the tournament on Sunday with a 2-1 revenge victory over Montana.

The tournament started Friday morning for Troy, who was scheduled for games against Montana and the hosting Arizona Wildcats. The latter game was cancelled, however, due to weather.

Against Montana, Troy fell in extra innings after failing to answer an eighth-inning run from the Grizzlies.

Madeline Porter and Logan Calhoun each recorded RBI singles in the third inning to give Troy a lead, but that was quickly erased in the next inning thanks to a two-run RBI single from Tori Lettus.

The Trojans battled back in the fifth as Katie Webb used one of her two hits in the game to bring in a run and reclaim the lead. Again, the Grizzlies battled back to regain the lead and the eventual victory after bringing in one run in both the seventh and the eighth innings.

Troy got the rest of the day off thanks to weather and came back Saturday morning to play a strong defensive game against Bryant.

Trojan pitchers Kynsley Blasingame and Claire Graves combined for six strikeouts and five hits, but it was the defense that helped force 11 groundouts and one flyout in the game.

Offensively, Stephanie Snyder got Troy off to an explosive start in the first inning by hitting her first-ever grand slam. Snyder drilled the 2-1 pitch over the center-field wall to bring in four runs and give her team a commanding lead.

The Bulldogs responded with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a deficit that was added to in the sixth inning by a Carli Kayler RBI single.

The momentum from that win didn’t last long, though, as Colorado State racked up nine hits on its way to a 5-0 shutout against the Trojans.

Troy recorded a season-low three hits in 21 at bats while the Rams batted a barrage of RBI singles from start to finish to keep the Trojans at bay.

The travelling Trojans did finish the tournament Sunday on a high note, however, taking advantage of two errors from Montana to avenge the Trojan loss two days prior.

Webb earned another RBI in the first inning to give Troy a lead following her sacrifice flyout that brought in Calhoun. That run, along with the game-deciding run scored off a catcher’s error in the seventh inning, sandwiched the Grizzlies’ lone run that came in the fourth off a solo home run.

Three days later, the Trojans continued their road trip a bit closer to home in Birmingham, where they took on the Samford Bulldogs.

Troy never trailed in the game, and used a four-run second inning to gain an early lead that its pitchers were able to maintain. Peyton Glover got the start in the circle, but it was Claire Graves who ended up getting the win for the Trojans.

In 4.2 innings of work, Graves struck out two batters and forced five ground outs and five flyouts.

At the plate, freshman Bailey Taylor and Calhoun teamed up to go 2-4 each, combining for two runs, two RBI’s and reaching base twice after being hit by a pitch.

The Bulldogs scored all six of their runs in the first four innings, but a stingy defense down the stretch helped give Troy the win ahead of another home tournament this weekend.

The Trojans now look forward to that tournament at the Troy Softball Complex, which will start off with games against Murray State and UAB at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.

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