Troy baseball has hot start


Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy baseball team brought home a series victory over the Trojans of Little Rock, winning two games to one over the three-game stretch, and topped the Samford Bulldogs at home.

Troy (12-7, 2-1 Sun Belt) took the first two games before falling in Sunday’s finale to the opposing Trojan squad to prevent a series sweep. Troy also topped Samford 9-2 in the first game of the two game dip between the two.

Friday’s game one action matched Troy with its first conference opponent on the year, resulting in its first Sun Belt victory.

Troy raced out to a 5-1 lead in the seventh inning after breaking the 1-1 stalemate held since the beginning of the game. Joey Denison kicked off the four run rally with an RBI double, soon followed by another double from Brandon Lockridge.

T.J. Binder cashed on his first homer of the season with a two-run shot that put the Trojans up six (7-1) in the top of the eighth.

With the game seemingly out of reach, Little Rock was prepared to rally its way out of the deficit. Little Rock scored a combined five runs in the final two innings alone.

Daren Osby for Troy was in command on the mound for seven innings and picked up five strikeouts and the win. Following Little Rock’s late game offensive spur, Mark Skinner toed the rubber to pick up his fourth save on the year and shut down the ninth-inning rally.

Little Rock responded with a ninth-inning blast from Dalton Thomas that drove in three runs and brought the game within one. The rally was then ended, and the final score stood 7-6 in Troy’s favor.

The roles reversed in Saturday’s game two as Troy found itself down for much of the night before pulling away late.

Little Rock scattered runs in each of the first three innings, but was unable to score the rest of the night. Troy chipped into the lead before landing on a four-run eighth inning to pull ahead.

Austin Crook picked up the win for the Trojans on the mound. Crook allowed the first three runs, but shut the opposing Trojans out for the remainder of the game.

After a seventh-inning homer from Mason Rogers and the eighth-inning scores, the final score put Troy on top 6-3, clinching the series heading into game three.

Despite clinching the series, Troy did not find similar results in Sunday’s finale as it fell 10-3 to Little Rock, ending a four-game win streak.

“We didn’t answer the challenge to be more aggressive-minded than they were,” Troy Head Coach Mark Smartt said. “A lot to be pleased with from this weekend, but we still have to get better. I’m proud of our team because we didn’t quit. We just didn’t cash in offensively on the chances we had.”

Little Rock scattered 17 hits throughout the game compared to Troy’s nine. Rogers paced the Trojan offense with a 3-4 performance at the plate, followed by Lockridge and Chase Smartt, who combined for three hits.

The Troy pitching lineup gave up 10 runs for the first time this season and charged Houston Mabray with the loss to close out the series in Little Rock.

Troy took a step away from conference play to take on in-state rival Samford on Tuesday night.

The Trojans jumped out to a quick 9-1 lead after scattering runs through the first five innings. Troy drove in four runs in the third inning and picked up a combined four runs in the second and fourth.

Samford scored its only runs when Austin Edens sent a two-out pitch to the fences for a homer in the fourth and had an RBI single in the ninth.

Lockridge paved the way for the Trojan offense with his 2-3 performance at the plate.

Evan Herbert picked up the win on the mound for the Trojans as they rolled past Samford, 9-2.

Game two of the Trojans’ series with Samford was the complete opposite of Tuesday’s outcome. Wednesday night, both sides played a closely contested game that resulted in a 4-3 victory for the Bulldogs.

The Trojans tallied six hits to Samford’s nine. Sanders led the visitors at the plate, batting 2-4 in the game.

Samford got on the board first with one run in the first inning. It followed up with another run in the second inning.

Troy responded with a three-run third inning, however, to take the lead.

Samford took that lead right back, though, putting up one run in the final two innings to come away with the victory.

Trojan baseball returns to conference competition this weekend as it plays host to the UL Ragin’ Cajuns for a three-game series. Game one is set for Friday at 6 p.m., followed by game two on Saturday at 3 p.m. and game three on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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