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Trojans beat ASU

JONESBORO, Ark. – For the second straight day, the Troy Trojans got a strong outing from their starting pitcher, some timely hits from the batting order, and a great job from the bull pen against Arkansas State to take a 7-3 victory over the Red Wolves.

The Trojans, who improved to 11-0 all-time against ASU, will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.

Troy used a four-run outburst in the first inning to stake junior Jason Walls (2-2) to a big early lead. The right-hander from Valley, Ala., combined with senior Jeff Green to make those early runs standup. Green earned his first career save with 3 2/3 solid innings of relief behind Walls.

“It feels really good to get a series win on Saturday and have a chance to come out on Sunday and get a sweep,” Troy coach Bobby Pierce said. “It all started with Jason Walls on the mound. He pitched great, which is exactly what we had hoped he would do.”

Walls scattered just four hits as he worked into the sixth inning, striking out four and walking just two. The only run he allowed, which came in the third inning, was unearned.

“Jason is back to where we thought he would be,” Pierce said. “I think he hit the wall a little early because he pitched during the middle of the week, which is something he had not done before. I’ll take 5 1/3 quality innings like that any day.

“Jeff Green came on in the sixth when Jason got into a jam and made some really quality pitches to get out of trouble.”

Green came on with the bases loaded and just one out in the sixth with Troy holding a 6-1 lead. He got a strikeout and a ground out to get out of the inning without ASU pushing across a run.

The Trojans jumped on Red Wolves starter Jett Jones (0-5) early, scoring four runs in the first inning. Chad Watson led off with a double on the first pitch of the game, but was still standing at second base two outs later.

Ryan Ditthardt got Troy on the board with a single through the left side of the infield. The Trojans will send senior left-hander Travis Burge (1-1, 5.08) to the mound on Sunday in search of their first series sweep this year.

“I think that Travis will give us a good start because this is a good matchup for him,” Pierce said. “Our bull pen is in great shape after the outing Jeff Green gave us today. If we can just drive in a few runs, then we will have a chance to sweep the series.”