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Troy beats No. 18 South Alabama to claim Sun Belt title

Published 10:31pm Saturday, May 18, 2013

With a 6-3 win over No. 18 South Alabama on Saturday Troy clinched a share of the Sun Belt Conference regular season title.

Troy will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament that starts on Wednesday in Lafayette, La., and will play Arkansas State at 12:30 p.m.

The Trojans came into the weekend need to take two of three to earn a share of the title and did so with wins on Friday and Saturday. South Alabama defeated Troy in the series opener on Thursday.

Head coach Bobby Pierce adjusted his strategy in the series moving usual Game 3 starter Ryan Sorce up to start Thursday’s game. Shane McCain started in his normal spot in Game 2 but usual Game 1 starter Tanner Hicks tossed 3.1 innings in relief.

On Saturday, closer Nate Hill started and went three innings before Thomas Austin took over and pitched two innings. Hicks again entered from the bullpen to close out the game over the final four innings.

Throughout the season Bobby Pierce has made moves that have worked for the Trojans in the clutch. On April 28, Troy was trailing Florida Atlantic 2-0 and was looking to avoid a series loss. Pierce called on Jo-El Bennett to pinch-hit in the fifth inning with two outs. Bennett launched a 2-run homer to tie the game. The Trojans would go on to take the contest, 5-3.

Last Saturday, Troy fell behind Arkansas State 3-2 heading into the ninth. With two outs, Clay Holcomb walked. Pierce sent Justin Hancock to the plate. Hancock, who had not had a plate appearance in nearly a month, drove a double off the left field wall to score Holcomb and tie the game. Troy won that game 4-3 in 10 innings.

The Trojans scored two runs in the first inning of Saturday’s game on a Logan Pierce home run and a 2-RBI single by Josh McDorman in the third gave Troy a 4-0 lead.

South Alabama answered with two runs in the bottom of the third but Troy would tack on two more runs and keep the Jaguars bats relatively quiet.

The Trojans finish the season 39-16 overall and 20-10 in Sun Belt play. Troy was 28-5 at home but just 10-11 (including neutral site games) away for Riddle-Pace Field.

HERE ARE THE LATEST NCAA TOURNAMENT PROJECTIONS:

College Baseball Daily – Troy in as No. 3 seed in Columbia Regional

1. South Carolina
2. Virginia Tech
3. Troy
4. Maine

ChasingOmaha.com - Troy in as No. 3 seed in Columbia Regional

1. South Carolina
2. Coastal Carolina
3. Troy
4. Delaware State

Perfect Game – Troy in as No. 3 seed in Nashville Regional

1. Vanderbilt
2. Rider
3. Troy
4. Ohio State

College Baseball Nation – Troy in as #2 seed in Starkville Regional

1. Mississippi State
2. Troy
3. Sam Houston St.
4. Southern Miss

SoutheasternBaseball.com – Troy in as #2 seed in Tallahassee Regional

1. Florida State
2. Troy
3. Florida
4. Maine

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