Troy softball hosts, sweeps Trojan Warrior Classic

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy softball team used solid pitching and a stifling defense to sweep its own Trojan Warrior Tournament, defeating Dayton twice, as well as Missouri State, Austin Peay and Mercer.

The tournament, which played from Feb. 26-Feb. 28, saw the Trojans (12-4, 0-0 Sun Belt) holding each of their opponents to just three runs or fewer.

Game one of the tournament for the Trojans was against Dayton (6-5, 0-0 Atlantic Ten), who came into the game off an 8-3 victory over Mercer. Troy got off to a slow start offensively, and thanks to five strikeouts by the pair of Flyer pitchers, saw itself down 1-0 at the top of the third inning.

Troy got on the board at the bottom of the third when sophomore right fielder Erica Davis scored on a walked batter with the bases loaded. Designated hitter Ashley Rainey followed up with a three-run RBI double and senior third baseman Khadija Neely added another RBI, giving the Trojans a 5-1 lead after three innings.

Both sides traded a pair of two scores in the final innings, giving Troy the 7-3 victory.

The host’s second game of the tournament was a rematch with the Flyers, but it was much closer than its previous one.

Both sides struggled to get anything going offensively, with both teams totaling seven hits in the game. Despite the low-scoring affair, Dayton owned a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning.

Senior right fielder Hannah Day hit a two-run RBI double to left field, and Rainey hit another RBI single to the other side of the outfield, driving in three runs for the inning.

The three runs were all Troy needed in the game, as Rainey closed out the game with two strikeouts and just four hits against 26 batters, giving her team the 3-2 win.

The Trojans’ third game, the second of their doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 27, against Missouri State, was another close contest. Troy started red hot from the plate, as the Trojans put up five runs in the first inning.

The Bears (7-6, 0-0 Missouri Valley) tried to battle their way back into the game, posting runs in the second and fourth innings, but a five-strikeout performance by freshman pitcher Claire Graves kept Missouri State at bay.

Troy took the win into its next game of the tournament on Sunday, Feb. 28, this time taking on a struggling Austin Peay team.

Productive fourth and fifth innings helped lift the Trojans to the 9-3 victory, led by senior second baseman Kate Benton’s 3-for-5 batting from the plate and one RBI. The Trojans posted 11 hits in the game to the Governors’ (2-7, 0-0 Ohio Valley) seven.

Despite giving up five hits and three walks, Rainey picked up her sixth win of the year behind the play of a Trojan infield that kept AP runners from getting home.

Troy’s fifth and final game of the tournament, a matchup with Mercer in its final day of play, was much the same as the previous games.

The Bears (4-10, 0-0 Southern) played Troy to yet another low-scoring affair, with the game tied at one apiece going into the bottom of the sixth inning. It wasn’t until Day hit a three-run bomb over the fence that Troy was ahead for good.

Senior pitcher Peyton Glover got the win for the Trojans, striking out three batters and walking none.

Troy softball will return to the diamond on Friday, March 4, for its first game in the Lipscomb Tournament against Youngstown State in Nashville, Tennessee. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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