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Troy Trojans grab two Saturday

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Troy University Trojans baseball team bounced back from a season-opening loss with a sweep of two games on Saturday.

Troy (2-1) took the opening game 8-2 over Southern Illinois before downing James Madison 6-3 in the nightcap. Troy will face Southern Illinois on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the final game of the Caravelle Resort Invitational.

“To get two games in one day is great,” Troy coach Bobby Pierce said. “It was an extremely long day and it is hard to stay focused for 18 innings, but this team did a good job all day today.”

The Trojans earned their first victory of the season behind a stellar pitching performance from freshman Tyler Ray (1-0) against Southern Illinois. In his first collegiate performance, Ray worked six strong innings, scattering just five hits while striking out six and walking none.

“Tyler Ray got everything started for us with an outstanding performance on the mound,” Pierce said. “He had to pitch his way out of a couple of jams, but was right on top of that and was great for six innings.”

Troy gave Ray support by scoring a pair of runs in the third inning. J.R. Myers plated one on a ground out and Michael Precise doubled in another.

The Trojans blew the game open in the top of the seventh. Steven Rosado, Myers, Ryan Ditthardt and Charley Williams all had run-scoring hits in the inning, which included a bit of controversy.

With two out and only two runs in at that point, Daryl Otwell appeared to have delivered a three-run homer down the leftfield line. Plate umpire Tom Katancik signaled homer but, after an argument from the SIU dugout, he was overruled by first base umpire Jamie Roebuck.

“If there was ever a time in a game for a head coach to get thrown out, that was it,” Pierce said. “I have never seen a call like that in my entire career. What made it more unbelievable was he tried to justify the call by saying he had a better angle, which was impossible. I am just glad that it didn’t cost us a game.”

SIU scored its only runs in the bottom of the inning.

Bart Pettus led Troy’s 12-hit offensive attack with three hits while Myers, Precise and Ditthardt had two hits each.

The Trojans got off to a quick start against James Madison. In the second inning Brett Henry delivered a long opposite field drive to right for his first home run of the year.

“We have been working with Hank for years to get him to try to hit the ball more to right field,” Pierce said. “We made a little adjustment a couple of weeks ago and after today, with two homers and a double to right, he will trust what we have been telling him.”

JMU got two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning off Troy starter Travis Burge (1-0).

Troy got one run back in the third. The Trojans got the other back in fourth when Henry blasted his second homer of the game, this one a two-out solo shot into the rightfield corner.

Troy pushed its lead to 6-2 in the fifth when Rosado led off with a double and scored on a single by Precise.

Burge picked up a win in his first start, working six solid innings. The lefty allowed just two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one.

The Trojans are back in action today, as they take on Southern Illinois again at 10 a.m.