Trojan sweep

Published 10:00 pm Monday, May 11, 2009

Troy completed a weekend sweep of ULM on Sunday with an 8-4 victory to celebrate Senior Day at Riddle-Pace Field.

A trio of Trojans pitchers combined to strikeout 13 Warhawks in the game as Troy (30-19, 17-8 Sun Belt) moved to within three games of first place in the Sun Belt Conference heading into the final week of the season.

The Warhawks (26-25, 12-17) must now wait to find out if they will get into the conference tournament while they play out of conference next week.

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The Sun Belt Conference Tournament will be played in Troy May 20-23.

Junior right-hander Jason Walls (4-4) earned the victory with six strong innings on the mound for the Trojans. He allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out eight.

“Walls got us going early and had great command,” Troy coach Bobby Pierce said. “It was great to be able to finish off a sweep against a good ULM team.”

The Trojans jumped on Warhawks starter Don Williams (5-2), scoring three times in the first inning. Ryan Ditthardt got things started with a two-run double and then scored on a single by Miles Hoyle.

Troy pushed its lead to 6-0 in the fourth inning Charley Williams singled in Adam Bryant and Trevor Tyre followed with his team-leading 10th homer of the year. The Trojans added another run in the fifth on a double by Steven Felix to score Hoyle, who doubled with one out to chase Williams.

The Trojans had chances to score even more, but left the bases loaded in the third after Williams hit three batters, and left two on in the fifth.

“We were able to get one run here and one run there, but you can’t get every guy in,” Pierce said. “We were able to remain solid to win this game.”

ULM started to chip away at the lead in the sixth when Ryan McMillan hit a long two-run homer off Walls. The Warhawks added two more runs in the seventh off sophomore Drew Hull on a two-run shot by Boomer Blanchard. They threatened to add more in the inning before Tim Wheeler came on in relief of Hull and recorded back-to-back strike outs with two runners in scoring position to get out of the inning.

Wheeler earned his first save of the year, and second of his career, by striking out four in two and two-thirds innings while allowing just a hit batter to reach base.

“Tim coming into the game and closing it out like that was very reassuring,” Pierce said.

Every hitter in the Troy lineup had at least one hit in the game, with Chad Watson, Hoyle and Bryant leading the way with two each. For ULM, every hitter struck out at least once, and Blanchard was the only Warhawk with two hits.

The Trojans close out the home portion of the regular season Tuesday night when Kennesaw State visits for a non-conference tilt. The game is set for a 6 p.m. start.