Troy tops New Orleans, UAB on the road

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

Trojan baseball spent the weekend on the road picking up a 2-1 series win over New Orleans before topping UAB 4-2. Head Coach Mark Smartt earned his 200th career victory as signal caller for the Trojans after finishing the best of three against a New Orleans team fresh off a victory against No. 2 LSU just days prior.

In Friday’s game one action, Troy (5-3, 0-0 Sun Belt) found themselves trailing 6-2 in the second inning before the Trojan offense turned the entire game around. Troy tacked on five runs in the third inning behind a blast over the fence from Brody Binder that drove in three. Matt Sanders had a 3-4 performance at the plate with two RBI’s and three scores of his own.

“It was a great win for us,” Smartt said. “We fell behind early, but got great at bats in the third inning and hung on from there. It’s always great to get a quality win from behind.”

Steven Whitaker was a nuisance for the Privateer defense as he stole four bases during the game, the most in a game by any Trojan since the 2005 season.

Daren Osby picked up the win for the Trojans on the mound, striking out five batters in his 5.2 innings on the hill.

After tying the game in the third inning, Troy tacked on a pair of scores in the eighth and ninth innings to secure the 12-9 victory.

Game two was a different scenario as neither team could gain the upper hand, ending with the Privateers escaping on an unearned run in the 13th inning.

New Orleans got on the board first as a result of one of three errors the Trojans would commit during the contest, two of which put runs on the board for the Privateers. Trailing 1-0, Chase Smartt evened the tally for the Trojans with a solo home run in the fifth inning.

New Orleans answered with a score of their own in the fifth, and Troy evened the score at 2-2 after a seventh inning sacrifice fly. The 2-2 tie would soon turn into a stalemate until the game reached the 13th inning.

Evan Herbert provided a solid performance on the mound for the Trojans, striking out nine Privateers in his six innings. Over his two starts of the 2017 campaign, he has collected a total of 16 strikeouts.

An error in the 13th proved costly to the Trojans as the winning run crossed following back-to-back singles for New Orleans. The walk-off score took the 3-2 victory for the Privateers and set up a tiebreaker game the following afternoon.

Sunday’s finale proved to be yet another nail-biter as the Trojans edged the Privateers in extra innings once again. A 10th inning score by Sanders clinched the series for the Trojans after a pair of hits from Joey Denison and Brandon Lockridge drove him home.

Lance Johnson picked up the win on the mound after pitching six innings and only allowing one earned run. It was Cory Gill who mounted his first save of the year and the performance of the game.

New Orleans was in position to take the game with two runners on base and no outs when Troy called on Gill to step into the heat in the bottom of the tenth. Gill got the following two batters to fly out and ground out, but an intentional walk left bases loaded.

Gill caught the following pinch hitter napping on an outside corner pitch to win the game 4-3.

On Tuesday, the Trojans shifted gears a bit, traveling to take on in-state rival UAB in a single game matchup.

The Trojans jumped out to an early three run advantage after Trevor Davis knocked in three runs on a homerun blast to left field.

The score remained the same until Troy tacked another run on the board in the fifth inning. Lockridge singled to first on a fielder’s choice and drove in Whitaker to take the 4-0 lead.

UAB put its first scores on the board after they got a pair of runners back to the dugout in the bottom of the seventh. Zakez Johnson singled to left field, allowing both runners in scoring position to make a break for the plate.

The remaining two innings were scoreless as Troy held on to win 4-2.

Troy looks ahead to the 2017 Cox Diamond Invitational in Pensacola. The three-day invite will begin on March 3 and will host Seton Hall, South Alabama and Southeastern Louisiana.

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