Troy knocks off Jackson StatePublished 9:35pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Coming off a disappointing road loss to Alabama State on Tuesday, the Troy baseball team was looking to rebound in a big way on Wednesday. The Trojans did just that with a 7-2 win over Jackson State at Riddle-Pace field.
For five innings, the Trojan offense looked as though it was still dormant. Then in the seventh, the bats began to awaken. Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Danny Collins smashed a 2-1 pitch down the line in left field, barely slipping past the foul pole for a 2-run home run.
Troy added three more runs in the eighth to pull away from the Tigers and improve to 6-2 on the season.
Freshman left-hander Levi Tate, an Enterprise native, started the game on the mound for Troy and pitched four solid innings not allowing a hit and picked up his first career win. Tate walked three and stuck out two and in the effort.
“For his first start, I thought he pitched very effectively,” Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said. “He had some command issue early with his changeup, but settled down nicely and had a good outing.”
Troy used four pitchers in relief of Tate. Ryan Brady, Ryan Sorce, Austin Sullivan and Thomas Austin all go work in the win. Austin, who pitched the final two innings, earned the save and tie Troy’s all-time record in appearances with his 75th.
Troy got the scoring starting in the second inning when Jake Harrell double to score Josh McDorman with two outs. Garrett Pitts, who walked earlier in the frame, was thrown out attempting to score on the play to end the threat.
Pitts redeemed himself in the sixth, however, when he singled with one out to plate Trae Santos. Pitts finished the game 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
“Right now everyone is still trying to feel out the bats. It was good to just come out and get a win,” Pitts said. “We always preach constant pursuit. Whatever we have to do to win, that’s what we are going to do.”
Logan Pierce and Tyler Vaughn both extended personal hitting streaks in the game. Vaughn stretched his streak to 10 games with a single in the seventh innings. Pierce has hit safely in 12 straight games with a double in the third.
Troy will host No. 24 Southern Mississippi over the weekend starting with a 6 p.m. contest on Friday. Both Saturday and Sunday games are set for 1p.m. starts.
The Trojans are 8-11 all time versus the Golden Eagles and lost two of three games in Hattiesburg last season.
“(Southern Miss) has a really nice team, they always do,” Pierce said. “This is one of those years where they are looking for big things. It’s going to be a tough weekend, we’re going to have to play really well to win this series.”