The Troy softball team took the series sweep against the University of Louisiana-Monroe at home with a pair of wins on Friday, April 3, and another on Saturday, April 4.
The Trojans (22-17, 7-5 Sun Belt) have now won four straight, as they held off tough conference opponent ULM (24-12, 8-5 Sun Belt).
The first game of the series was a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire matchup between the pitchers that required extra innings to settle.
Senior pitcher Jaycee Affeldt pitched an excellent game from the mound for the Trojans, recording eight strikeouts, and allowed only one run in nine innings.
Sophomore pitcher Melanie Coyne led the Warhawks, holding Troy to just three hits, and had four strikeouts.
ULM’s sophomore left fielder Rochelle Roberts opened up the scoring in the third inning, reaching home on a throwing error after stealing third base. It was the only run ULM scored in the game.
The Trojans were held scoreless through six innings, and looked as if they might be shut out.
However, junior designated player Ashley Rainey hit a solo bomb over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1 to force extra innings.
After a tense 1 1/2 innings, the stalemate ended when sophomore right fielder Becca Hartley hit a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Troy the 2-1 victory.
“I thought in the first game we came out a little slow,” said head coach Beth Mullins. “But we won. We had great pitching, great defense and timely hitting, and that’s all I’ve asked of them.”
Troy took the momentum from game one and carried it over into game two of the doubleheader on Friday with a 9-3 victory.
ULM jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning, but scored only once more the entire game, thanks to solid defensive play from the Trojans.
Affeldt, who pitched all three games of the series, gave up six hits in game two, but the defense allowed only three runs.
Junior catcher Hannah Day scored in the third inning to tie the game on an RBI single from Rainey, who went three for four at bat and finished with two RBIs.
Going into the bottom of the sixth inning down 3-2, the Trojans blew the game wide open by reaping seven runs.
Troy capitalized on a number of mistakes from the Warhawks, with seven of its nine runs unearned.
When the dust settled after the sixth, the scoreboard read 9-3 in favor of the Trojans, a lead they held onto in the seventh inning to earn the comeback victory.
Both games of the doubleheader included late scoring by the Trojans to come away with the win.
“A big focus of ours back in the fall was to finish,” Mullins said. “When people get tired, you need to get tougher and play better.”
The final game of the series was a high-scoring affair, with junior left fielder Amanda Winters becoming the first Trojan since Courtney Davis in 2008 to rack up seven RBIs in a game.
Both teams traded runs in the first two innings of the game, but ULM widened the gap with an explosive four-run third inning to go up 5-1.
ULM produced a balanced scoring attack, with nine different players recording a hit.
The Trojans refused to be put away so easily, however, and responded with their own four-run inning in the bottom of the third, courtesy of Winters’ two home runs.
With the bases loaded and one out, Winters stepped up to the plate and sent the ball over the fence and tied the game at five.
Troy completed the comeback in the fourth inning with a two-run RBI from senior first baseman Michelle Phelps as well as a three-run homer from Winters to bring the score to 10-5 in favor of Troy.
The Trojan defense held off a late attempt at a comeback by the Warhawks, refusing them the victory late in the game to finish with the 10-8 victory.
Troy played on Tuesday, April 7, in a doubleheader on the road at Southern Mississippi. For the full story on the doubleheader, head to tropnews.com.
The Trojans will face Texas State on April 11 and 12 on the road.