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Hilltoppers knock Troy out in 11th inning Sunday

Like a pair of heavyweight fighters, the Troy Trojans and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers battled tooth and nail Sunday afternoon in the rubber game of a weekend Sun Belt Conference series.

While Troy chipped away at WKU all afternoon, it was the Hilltoppers who continually delivered haymakers to finally put the game away, winning 6-4 in 11 innings.

WKU improved to 14-6 overall and 8-1 in the Sun Belt with the win while dropping Troy to 12-9 overall and 2-4 in league play.

The WKU duo of Wade Gaynor and Chad Cregar were constant thorns in the Trojans sides all weekend. On Sunday, the pair combined to drive in five of six Hilltoppers runs.

For eight innings, Troy senior Travis Burge kept the potent bats from Western Kentucky silent, but that ended when Gaynor, the leading hitter in the Sun Belt Conference, hit a first pitch fastball over the wall in dead center for a two-out, two-run homer.

“Travis pitched a fine game and gave us a chance,” Troy coach Bobby Pierce said. “We had a base open when Gaynor came up in the eighth and we wanted to pitch around him, but Travis left the first pitch about belt buckle high and Gaynor did what he has been doing all year.”

Burge worked eight innings in the game, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out three. WKU starter Shane Cameron was just as good, going 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.

The Trojans absorbed the blow from the Hilltoppers and had chances to win the game in both the eighth and ninth innings, but were never able to deliver a clutch hit.

The Trojans will be back in action tonight at Jacksonville State before returning home Wednesday to face Auburn. The JSU game is set for a 6:30 p.m. start while Wednesday’s game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.