Trojans win three of five, top NC State on opening weekend

Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy Trojan softball team kicked off the 2017 season with a five-game tournament in Boca Raton, Florida, last weekend in which it notched three wins.

Troy played two games on opening day, beating Bethune-Cookman before losing to North Florida. The Trojans again split both of their games on Saturday, including a win over NC State. Finally, Troy closed out the tournament with another win over Bethune-Cookman.

The first game on Friday resulted in an 8-4 win against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.

After the first three innings of the contest, the Trojans found themselves down 3-0. In the top of the fourth inning, senior Becca Hartley scored Troy’s first run of the season with a solo homerun. Hartley is the Trojans’ returning homerun leader, hitting 11 over the wall last season.

With Troy down 3-1, the bats caught fire in the sixth inning. Five base hits brought in six runs, including two batted in by junior Erica Davis’ first career triple. The inning put Troy up 7-3 heading into the seventh, when each team put a runner across the plate to bring the final score to 8-4.

The Trojans then faced North Florida, but dropped the contest 5-2 after a tough third inning.

Each team scored a run in the first inning and played a scoreless second. The Ospreys took control of the game in the third inning after bringing in four runs and forcing Trojan sophomore pitcher Peyton Glover out of the game. Redshirt junior Rachel Rigney came in and finished the game without giving up a run.

Troy’s last score of the game came on a triple by sophomore Kaylee Hussey, who scored after an error made by the third baseman.

“I was proud of our offense and all of our quality at-bats in both games,” Troy Head Coach Beth Mullins said. “I think we learned a lot about ourselves today. We had some big innings that hurt us defensively, but we will just have to work and get better at preventing them.”

On Saturday, Troy faced off against Michigan State and North Carolina State. The Trojans fell to Michigan State 9-4 to start the day, but bounced back against the Wolfpack in a 5-3 win.

Against Michigan State, the Spartans started the game hot, scoring five runs in the first two innings. The Trojans got on the board in the bottom of the second with an RBI double from sophomore Stephanie Snyder.

Michigan State added two more runs in the fifth, which were answered by one run scored by Hartley on a wild pitch in the sixth to make it 7-2. Each team scored two more runs in the seventh to finish the game.

In the following game, the Trojans fell behind early again after allowing three runs in the first inning. The Trojans’ first run came in the second inning to bring the score to 3-1.

Troy tied the game in the fourth with a two-out single, followed by two walks and two batters hit by pitches. The Trojans took the lead in the sixth after the Wolfpack committed two errors, allowing the Trojans to score two runs and secure the 5-3 victory.

Troy played its final game of the weekend in a rematch with Bethune-Cookman. The Trojans used a little late-game heroics to grab the 9-6 win.

The first run of the game was scored by Troy in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly that scored senior Jordan Gray. The Wildcats tied the game in the fourth and then took a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Trojans used a pair of hits and Wildcat errors to bring Troy within one. Hartley then cleared the bases with a three-run homer, her second of the tournament, to put Troy back on top 6-4.

After Bethune-Cookman pulled to within one in the sixth, Gray hit her first career homerun and brought in three runs for the Trojans. Troy held the Wildcats to one run in the seventh to clinch the third win of the weekend.

“I thought we really had to gut it out today on the mound,” Mullins said. “The offense did a good job of having quality at-bats and consistently putting runs on the board. Two of our seniors, Jordan Gray and Becca Hartley, came up with two very timely hits to help us come out on top today.”

Troy returns home this weekend to host a five-game tournament beginning with Jacksonville on Friday at 3 p.m.

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