Troy topples Crimson Tide

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy baseball team dropped a three-game series on the road to UT-Arlington over the weekend, but bounced back in walk-off fashion over Alabama at home.

Troy (15-12, 4-5 Sun Belt) fell short in both ends of Friday’s doubleheader, but bounced back with a convincing 13-5 victory in the final game to avoid the series sweep.

On Tuesday night, the Trojans took a break from conference action, toppling the Crimson Tide in the start of a two-game series, and only the 33rd matchup between the two programs.

In game one of Friday’s doubleheader, the Mavericks had two four-run innings, a scoring run that the Trojans were unable to match after trailing 4-0 in the first inning. Troy scattered five runs in the first four innings, but still trailed 8-5. Matt Sanders led the Trojans’ offense with his 3-5 performance at the plate. Sanders had a double along with two RBIs.

Both teams tacked on a single run in the seventh inning, resulting in the final scores of the game. Daren Osby was charged with his second loss on the year after his 3.1 innings of work in the 9-6 loss.

The nightcap of the doubleheader saw a similar story, as UT-Arlington started the game fast, scattering three runs before the third inning. Troy was unable to chip away at the deficit behind the pitching of Arlington’s Trae Patterson and closer Daniel James.

The lone pair of runs for Troy came in the fourth inning, when an RBI-double came off the bat of Trevor Davis.

Redshirt sophomore Andrew Cane saw the mound for his first career start and was charged with the loss. Cane allowed five hits as well as three unearned runs in his 4.2 innings of work.

UT-Arlington clinched the home series with the 5-2 win to improve its series record to 9-3 over the Trojans.

In Saturday’s finale, Troy trailed for seven innings before exploding at the plate to close out the game. UT-Arlington led 5-4 in the seventh after each team scattered hits in the second, third and fifth innings. Troy mounted an impressive comeback to pick up Head Coach Mark Smartt’s fourth win after trailing over six innings.

Mason Rogers had a career night at the plate, batting 2-3 with four RBIs. Along with an RBI double, Rogers had a two-run homer in the eighth to cap off the nine runs Troy scored in the final two innings.

After running away with the victory late, Corey Childress entered the game in relief for Austin Crook, but picked up the win after shutting down each batter he faced. After a scoreless ninth inning for the Mavericks, Troy stood on top 13-5.

“I’m extremely proud of our team,” Smartt said. “We stuck in there and got 11 runs in the last three innings. It’s hard to win when you’re down in the seventh on the road, but a lot of really good things happened, and it ended up being a comfortable win.”

Following the trip to Arlington, Troy hosted Alabama on Tuesday in front of a record crowd of 3,328 fans at Riddle-Pace Field. Troy picked up a win over the in-state powerhouse on a ninth-inning rally thanks to some late-game heroics by Sanders.

Alabama found rhythm at the plate early as the first four runs for the Tide came on homeruns.  The teams traded leads throughout, with the largest one being a 9-5 Trojan advantage in the sixth.

Alabama responded to Troy’s four runs in the sixth by scoring five of its own in the seventh to take a one-run lead heading into the eighth.

By the end of the eighth inning, the score was knotted at 11 heading into the final frame.

The Tide had two runners in scoring position before Mark Skinner struck one batter out and forced a ground ball from the next, preserving the tie.

In the bottom of the ninth, Drew Frederic reached base safely on a ground single, followed by a bunt from Steven Whitaker to advance Frederic to second.

The game-winning RBI came off the bat of Sanders. Sanders singled to center field, allowing Frederic to make a break for the plate. The throw from the outfield was only barely late, and Frederic scored the game-winning run.

The Trojans are back in conference play tomorrow afternoon as they play host to Georgia Southern. The three-game series is set to begin at 6 p.m., followed by games two and three on Saturday and Sunday. Fans can catch all three matchups on ESPN3.

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