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Troy pitching staff deep but has plenty to prove in 2013

Published 10:26pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Coming off a disappointing 28-30 campaign, the Troy University baseball team opens the 2013 season on Friday as it hosts Florida A&M in a four-game weekend tilt.

The Trojans battling injury a year ago especially to its pitching staff. It might have been a blessing in disguise for this year’s squad, however, as Troy head coach Bobby Pierce has more proven experience to work with.

Ryan Source (elbow) and Shane McCain (shoulder) return for the Trojans after sitting out last year. Joe Hernandez made the transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation mid-year and was named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year twice before being sidelined late with an elbow injury. Hernandez finished the season with a 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA in nine starts.

The trio along with Ryan Brady and newcomers Will Starling and Tanner Hicks will make up Troy’s potential stable of starting pitchers.

Starling, a local product from Pike Liberal Arts, has been dubbed the Trojans Game 1 starter against Florida A&M. Hicks, McCain and Brady are scheduled to follow.

Brady went 2-3 for the Trojans in 12 starts with a 4.19 ERA in 53.2 innings.

“We have a good, solid nucleus of returning guys both in the starting rotation and in the back end,” Pierce said. “We have six competitive guys we are looking at to start a game for us.”

The Trojans will also return Thomas Austin and Nate Hill in the bullpen. Austin will likely start out the season as Troy’s setup man while Nate Hill will look to be the closer.

Hill had four saves on the year while posting a 3.53 ERA in 35 appearances. Austin pitched in 32 games fro Troy earning three saves with a 2.80 ERA.

Cass Abercromie returns for his senior campaign and will be used in middle relief. He might also get a spot start over the course of the season as he did last year against East Carolina.

Jeremy McGowen got some work last season as a freshman and look to be a contributor in 2013 as well. Also, look for Charles Henderson alum William Teal to get more work this year as he has undergone a transformation, changing his arm slot from high three-quarter to sidearm. As a result, Teal has been able to locate his pitches better and has added some movement to his fastball.

Ivan Carter has possibly the best fastball on the staff and will also get an opportunity out of the bullpen.

Troy has several newcomers from which to call upon during the season as well.

Matthew Howard, Robert Price, and Austin Sullivan are all junior college transfers with the ability to contribute right away. Levi Tate, a true freshman from Enterprise, has also pleased coaches.

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