Troy State ends season By Micah Lewter

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2003

The Troy State softball team entered the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament with 39 wins. The Lady Trojans left it the same way.

Troy State dropped two consecutive games Thursday to fall to 39-23 and likely end their season.

"I don't think there's anyway we're getting into the NCAA tournament," head coach Melanie Davis said. "Yeah we finished No. 2 in the conference, but losing two games in a row doesn't do you any favors."

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Troy State lost to Mercer 3-2 in its first game of the day. Because of the way the bracket was drawn, Troy State then had to immediately play Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks hit three home runs and Troy State committed two errors in an 11-5 JSU win.

The Mercer loss ended one streak but continued another. Troy State has now lost in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament four consecutive seasons, but the loss was the first against Mercer in 11 games, dating back to 1997.

Trojan catcher Tamra Howren had a good statistical day, but she couldn't do anything when the game was on the line.

She hit a home run and two doubles, but she struck out to end the game against Mercer with the tying run at second and grounded into a fielder's choice in the Jacksonville State game with the bases loaded and her team trailing 9-5.

"I really thought the miracle comeback was possible then, but it didn't happen," Davis said.

Erin Flater followed with a ground out to end the inning and the Trojan threat.

Jacksonville State's Janae Bonin was clutch for the Gamecocks. She hit two home runs and helped Jacksonville State to the victory. Her first one tied the game at 2 in the first inning and her second one came in the fifth and pushed the Gamecock lead back to four after Troy State had cut it to three in the top of the fifth.

The difference in the game may have been the second inning. Peggy Swift dropped a one-out fly ball in left field to let Melinda McDonald reach first. After a ground out and an intentional walk, Jessica Ford singled to center field. Jenny Boyd tried to come up throwing on the ground ball, but instead she let it by her and all three runners scored on the error.

In the first game of the day, Troy State took a 2-1 lead in the first inning on a Howren two-run homer to center field. Unfortunately for Troy State, Mercer pitcher Katie Rosentreter shut the Trojans down most of the rest of the way. She allowed three hits over the first two innings but only three through the top of the sixth. Kristi Montgomery kept the Trojan bats silent the final inning and two-thirds to earn the save.

Meghan Clark's two-run homer in the fourth was the difference in the game.

Troy State will now watch the NCAA selection show Sunday night with little hope of gaining an NCAA invitation.