Opening conference play, the Troy baseball team split the series with South Alabama, 1-1, with the rubber game being rained out on Saturday, March 15.
Troy took game one from the Jaguars, 5-0. Senior pitcher Tanner Hicks threw a shutout game. Hicks had 16 ground ball outs, and this was the first time a Troy pitcher threw a shutout in a nine-inning game since Tyler Ray in 2011.
“We started off the series with a great pitching performance by Tanner Hicks. We pitched very well,” said head coach Bobby Pierce. “We defended great. We had trouble putting things together with any type of consistency offensively.”
Scoring started in the second inning as junior third baseman Nick Masonia hit a homer and then was followed by junior outfielder David Hall with another homer allowing the Trojans a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the seventh, senior shortstop Tyler Vaughn started a streak for the Trojans with a double. Senior second baseman Garrett Pitts then singled to score Vaughn and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
In game two of the series, Troy lost in extra innings with South Alabama winning 2-1.
Both Troy and South Alabama scored single runs in the second inning. Senior pitcher Shane McCain pitched eight innings allowing one run on five hits.
In the bottom of the tenth, South Alabama put a runner on base with two outs. A wild pitch allowed the runner to advance to second. On a line drive to center, the runner on second scored to give the Jaguars the win.
“Really had trouble against their left-hander St. John,” Pierce said. “Gave up a little single and a double in the bottom of the tenth and they won that game 2-1.”
Troy was set to face South Alabama for game three of the weekend on Saturday due to inclement weather on Sunday, March 16. The game was started and the Trojans took an early 3-1 lead.
In the fourth, the game was postponed until Sunday but could not be completed.
“We took a quick 3-1 lead,” Pierce said. “Rain halted it and we were never able to resume.”
Hicks received Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week due to his shutout performance on Friday, March 14.
“I thought it was more Tanner’s competitive nature than just his raw stuff that he was throwing that really led him down that road to a complete game shutout,” Pierce said.
Previously, throughout the weekend of March 7-9, Troy took the series from the University of New Orleans by winning the last two games of the series.
Troy lost 5-3 to UNO on Friday, March 7, but turned around to get a 3-1 win on Saturday, March 8. On championship Sunday, March 9, the Trojans defeated New Orleans 3-2.
On Tuesday, March 11, Troy headed to Montgomery to take on Alabama State where the team was ahead 8-5 when the game was stopped due to rain. The completion of the game was on Wednesday, March 19 when Alabama State came to Troy.
Troy was in action at home for two mid-week games. Troy played Jacksonville State on Tuesday, March 18 and lost by a score of 7-3.
Troy will face the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a three-game conference play starting Friday, March 21, with first pitch at 6 p.m.