Trojans break losing streak with win at GSU
– Behind a dominating performance by right-hander Justin Eason, the Troy State baseball team snapped an eight-game losing streak on Saturday, splitting a doubleheader against Atlantic Sun Conference foe Georgia State. The Trojans won the first game, 7-1, before dropping the finale of the three-game series, 6-4.
Eason (2-4) pitched a complete-game six-hitter, allowing no earned runs while striking out eight to give the Trojans (9-17, 1-8 A-Sun) their first conference win of the season and help TSU avoid being swept in their third consecutive conference series of the year.
The Trojans struck first in game one, taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth with three unearned runs. Brian Lipman and Casey O’Quinn drove in two of the three runs for the Trojans.
Georgia State (14-9, 7-2) trimmed the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Stephen Burroughs singled up the middle, bringing in Dustin Phillips, who reached on an error and stole second base. GSU would get no closer.
Panther starter Ronnie Robinson (3-3) threw six strong innings, but he couldn’t stop a TSU uprising in the seventh ­ giving up four doubles and four runs in the final frame.
O’Quinn was the only Trojans with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI. Al Stephens, Wes Kelley, Wade Miller and Lipman finished with a hit and a RBI each.
In the second game, Troy State took a first-inning lead after a potential double play resulted in problems for the Panthers. After recording the force-out at second, Sean Fitzgerald’s throw in the dirt to first allowed Coby Smith to score from second.
Georgia State tied the game in the bottom of the second with a hit-and-run play, with Garrett Greer singling up the middle and driving in Stephen Burroughs from second.
Trojan starter Eric Wikstrom (0-1) threw only three and 1/3 innings, scattering five hits while striking out two and giving up three runs. He was ejected in the bottom of the fourth after arguing a call that allowed Burroughs to reach with a single deep to the shortstop. Before his ejection, Wikstrom surrendered a two-run home run to Josh Vandiver, giving Georgia State a 3-1 lead.
Georgia State added two more runs in the fifth off Trojan reliever Doug Atkins. After two easy groundouts to the second baseman, the Panthers put together four consecutive singles to score two runs.
Panther starter Jonathan Craig (4-1) tossed five and 1/3 innings giving up two runs with five walks and three strikeouts. Brett Strickland pitched the final one and 2/3 innings, getting three strikeouts, to earn his third save of the season.
Troy State returns to action with a two-game, non-conference series against Middle Tennessee on Tuesday and Wednesday in Murfreesboro. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.