Troy baseball sweeps Arkansas State

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Wes Fortson

Staff Writer

The Troy baseball team swept Arkansas State over the past weekend in a three-game home series that started on Friday, April 10.

The series sweep catapulted the Trojans into a tie for third in the Sun Belt Conference.

Game one of the series was postponed due to rain on Friday night and forced the teams to play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 11.

The first game of the doubleheader kicked off at 2 p.m., and with the help of freshman left fielder Reid Long, Troy knocked off the Red Wolves 3-1.

Both teams were held scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when Long lifted a two-run homer out to right center field to put the Trojans on top 2-0.

Later, senior designated hitter David Hall hit an RBI single to left, scoring junior right fielder Logan Hill for a security run in the eighth.

Junior pitcher Grant Bennett pitched a complete game for Troy, and didn’t allow a run until the top of the ninth when Arkansas State scored its lone run on a sacrifice fly ball to right field.

Bennett picked up his seventh win of the season, which leads the Sun Belt Conference. His 1.94 ERA also stands as the third best in the conference.

In game two of the Saturday doubleheader, the Trojans denied the Red Wolves once again in a 4-2 showdown.

This time junior pitcher Lucas Brown took the mound for Troy and struck out six batters in 7 2/3 innings of work.

Arkansas State struck first in the top of the first inning on a sacrifice fly ball to center field that scored junior center fielder Austin Baker.

Troy didn’t answer until the bottom of the fourth, when Hill hit an RBI single up the middle to score senior center fielder Clay Holcomb.

The very next batter, senior first baseman Trevin Hall, ripped a double to left center, knocking Hill home and putting Troy on top 2-1.

In the top of the fifth, the Red Wolves tied the game up when redshirt senior third baseman Zach George walked, allowing senior left fielder Ty Michelotti to trot to home plate.

The following inning, the Trojans took the lead back for good when senior designated hitter Jo-El Bennett hit a single to left field to score Hill.

Then freshman shortstop Matt Sanders hit a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher that scored Trevin Hall from third and brought the final score to 4-2.

Troy completed the series sweep on Sunday, April 12, with a tight 6-5 battle for the victory.

The Trojans took a quick lead in the first on an RBI single by Hill to score Holcomb from second.

However, both teams were kept quiet until the fifth inning, when the Red Wolves tied the game on a pair of well-placed hits.

In the sixth inning, Arkansas State took a slight lead when sophomore second baseman Joe Schrimpf singled to center field, allowing junior third baseman Tanner Ring to score.

Troy answered back once again in the bottom of the inning and scored when sophomore first baseman TJ Binder ground out to third base, but junior pinch runner Cameron Sanders rushed home on the play and tied up the game 2-2.

The Red Wolves didn’t go down without a fight, though. Baker picked up an RBI for the Red Wolves in the seventh and stole back the lead.

The Trojans established their dominance in the eighth inning with four runs on three bunts, two walks and a few hits by a well-executed offense that brought the score to 6-3.

“We got some big hits down the stretch to set that inning up in the eighth,” said head coach Bobby Pierce. “We got some nice bunts down and executed that very well. It’s something we’ve worked on in practice, so I was real happy to see the guys execute in those critical moments.”

Arkansas State still battled in the top of the ninth inning with a two-run shot by Ring that brought the Red Wolves within one.

Senior pitcher Jeremy McGowan slammed the door shut on the Wolves, got the final two outs for Troy and completed the sweep as he picked up his third win of the season.

Troy played Samford on Tuesday night and lost 13-2 in Birmingham. Head to tropnews.com for the full story on Troy’s Tuesday game.

Troy will be back on the diamond against UT-Arlington in a conference series on the road starting on April 17.

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