Troy baseball falls at home to UALR, routs Samford 14-2

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy baseball team hosted Little Rock and Samford in a four-game home stretch, coming away with a pair of wins.

Troy lost its first conference series of the season two games to one, with its lone series win coming in game two with a score of 2-0. UALR took both games one and three by scores of 3-1. Troy then hosted Samford for an in-state matchup on Tuesday night, shutting down the Bulldogs 14-2 in their second and final meeting of the year.

In Friday’s series opener, Troy struggled to get going on offense against strong pitching from the opposing Trojans. Chandler Fidel got the win on the mound for Little Rock, striking out eight batters and allowing just five hits in his seven innings on the hill.

Brandon Lockridge led Troy at the plate, going 2-4 with his eighth career triple. Lockridge scored Troy’s lone run after a sacrifice fly from Joey Denison following Lockridge’s triple. Andrew Crane was charged with the loss after striking out seven batters in his six innings of work.

In Saturday’s game two, Troy evened the series, shutting out Little Rock behind the arms of Daren Osby and Rush Hixon. The pitching duo combined for seven strikeouts as Osby picked up the win and Hixon tallied his first career save.

Troy once again struggled to produce at the plate, totaling only five hits. Lockridge and Denison each picked up a hit, with Denison picking up his 27th RBI of the year to give Troy all it needed to seal the 2-0 victory.

The hometown Trojans hit offensive struggles once again in game three, dropping the weekend closer and allowing Little Rock to take the series win.

Troy put the first run on the board after four scoreless innings, but Little Rock answered quickly with three runs of its own in the top of the fifth.

A triple from Lockridge put Troy’s only run on the board. Lockridge’s two hits and Drew Frederic’s three hits made up five of the team’s eight hits. Frederic tallied his three hits on four trips to the plate to tie a career high.

Troy left 10 runners on base during the game, costing the team several scoring opportunities.

Sadler Goodwin was charged with the loss after his one inning of work when he allowed three runs on three hits.

“Unfortunately, you can’t lose series at home,” said Head Coach Mark Smartt after the series. “We’re not doing anything to manufacture runs and leaving too many guys on base.

“We’ll regroup tomorrow and get ready to bounce back.”

Troy did just that in its next game against Samford on Tuesday night.

The Trojans jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two hits in the bottom of the first. Manning Early drove home three runs on a triple to close out the inning following a Matt Sanders single.

Troy denied the Bulldogs a hit until the eighth inning behind the arm of freshman pitcher Levi Thomas. Thomas recorded three innings on the mound, striking out four batters in his first win on the year.

Troy continued the scoring run in the second and third innings, jumping out to an early 9-0 lead. Frederic singled up the middle to drive home the lone run in the second, taking the 7-0 lead.

Troy tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the third after Lockridge was hit by a pitch and Denison sent a runner back home after tagging up on a center field fly.

Following a scoreless fourth inning, Troy was back at work, tacking on the final five runs to take a 14-run advantage. Sanders hit an RBI single to open the inning before Mason Rodgers drove in three on a triple.

Frederic saw Troy’s final run driven in as his single sent Rodgers back home for the score.

The Bulldogs tacked on their only two runs in the seventh inning to avoid the shutout. The final two innings were scoreless as the final score stood 14-2, tying Troy’s season high run total.

The Trojans are back in action Friday, kicking off a three-game series against conference foe Louisiana. The series is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Tigue Moore Field in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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