USM claws Troy
The day started well for the Troy Trojans, but one key play seemed to be the turning point in an afternoon that saw two losses to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Troy (15-12) jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game one, but a catcher’s interference call against Troy on what would have been the third out of the top of the fifth inning led to four unearned runs and a 5-4 Southern Miss (18-9) lead.
The Trojans did not score another run all day, losing game one 10-4 and game two 8-0.
“That (play) was a backbreaker,” Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said. “That is the first time it has ever happened to Steven (Felix), so it is not like he makes that mistake a lot.”
Pierce said Troy did not respond well to that play and Southern Miss did.
“That is what good teams do though,” Pierce said. “They take advantage of a little crack or a little break. Up to this point in the season we haven’t been able to take advantage of some breaks we have gotten.”
The Trojans got on the board first when Miles Hoyle doubled to open the bottom of the first and scored on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Ditthardt.
In the third inning Michael Precise led off with a solo home run over the monster in right field and Ditthardt scored on a single by Chad Watson. Trevor Tyre launched a home run over the left field fence in the fourth inning and Southern Miss responded with four unearned runs in the top of the fifth.
With the bases loaded Trojan pitcher Tim Wheeler got a fly out to left field that seemed to be the third out of the inning, but a catcher’s interference call plated Corey Stevens to open the scoring.
The Golden Eagles added three more runs before Josh Storm came in and got a strikeout on one pitch to end the inning after Drew Hull was ineffective in his 11 pitches thrown.
Southern Miss added five runs in the sixth inning off Storm. Corey Stevens again walked to open the inning for the Eagles. Kameron Brunty singled and Taylor Walker walked to load the bases with two outs. Brian Dozier singled in Stevens and Brunty and Bo Davis blasted a three-run home run over the left field wall to give Southern Miss a 10-4 lead.
Troy went down without scoring another run for the loss. Tim Wheeler (2-2) took the loss on the mound for the Trojans and Josh Fields (1-0) picked up the win for Southern Miss and Scott Copeland notched his first save of the season in three innings of work. Six Trojans recorded a hit in the game and three batters had one RBI apiece.
Davis led the Golden Eagles, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run and four RBIs. James Ewing had two hits and two RBIs.
In game two, Southern Miss rode the momentum of game one and jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind five hits and three innings of no hits from USM starter Seth Hester.
Hester (1-1) threw a two-hit shutout in the 8-0 win for USM. Hoyle and Charley Williams each had one single in the game.
The Golden Eagles added to the lead with one run in the fifth inning and five in the sixth. Kyle Maxie led off the fifth with an opposite field home run over the left field wall for the 3-0 lead.
James Ewing and Kameron Brunty registered back-to-back singles and Corey Stevens drilled a three-run bomb for a 6-0 USM advantage. Maxie doubled and scored on a single by Michael Ewing and Ewing scored on a Taylor Walker double.
The Trojans are back in action this weekend when they travel to take on Sun Belt foe Arkansas State. First pitch for Friday’s game is set for 6 p.m. On Saturday game time is set for 2 p.m. and Sunday’s game is set for a 1 p.m. start.