TSU wins second series
The Troy State baseball team won its second straight series to open the season, but also suffered its first loss.
The Trojans won two of the three games against Tennessee Tech Friday and Saturday, but lost the third to improve to 5-1 on the season. Troy State won the first two games by one-run margins, 5-4 on Friday and 9-8 on Saturday. The third game, originally scheduled for today, was played Saturday because of a threat of rain in the area today. Tennessee Tech (1-3) took the finale 8-5 in seven innings.
"I'm still adjusting the lineups to see what combinations give us the best chance to win," TSU coach Bobby Pierce said. "I have been pleased with what I've seen. Everyone has stepped up at key times and the sign of a good team is balance."
Troy State suffered its first loss of the season in large part because of a five-run third inning. Starting pitcher Michael Gallops surrendered all five runs, but none of them were earned.
"Michael had shut down their offense fairly well before that inning," Pierce said. "He gave up a couple of walks and we had an error. If you give a team that many extra chances, it usually costs you."
The error by shorts stop Trent Cox allowed Tennessee Tech's Ben Shannon, son of former Troy State football assistant coach John Shannon, to reach base. That should have been the second out, but with the extra life, Tech's Cole Helms hit a sac-fly to left to score Grant French from third. The flood gates opened on the way to a five-run inning.
Troy State scored three runs in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 5-4 and tied it in the fourth.
Carlos Martin scored in the top of the sixth to give Tech a 6-5 lead and Tech added two more runs in the seventh.
Ben Pincus (1-0) took the win in the shortened game (both teams agreed to a seven-inning game when they decided to play the doubleheader), pitching one shutout inning. Paul Darby (0-1) took the loss.
The first game of the day was a wild one. The teams combined to score 11 runs by the end of the third inning and were tied at eight after the fifth.
The pitching finally came around at the end, and Troy State took the lead in the seventh inning when Casey O'Quinn scored from second on a Trent Cox fly-out to center.
Shannon, Tennessee Tech's center fielder, missed third base on his throw to hold the runner and the ball bounced out of play. O'Quinn was awarded home on the play.
"I think we showed a lot of heart in the first game," Pierce said. "Every time they scored in the top of the inning, we answered with at least a run in the bottom of that inning. That kept us in the game."
Brandon Erwin (2-0) picked up the win for Troy State with a 4-and-two-thirds inning shutout performance. Doug Atkins recorded the final out of the game with two runners on base to pick up his first save.
The Trojans needed a nail-biter in the first game as well.
Glen Hardy hit a lead-off, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Trojans a 5-4 win.
Atkins (1-0) picked up the win with a perfect ninth inning.