Trojans open SBC tourney against Jags

Published 11:36 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Troy University will put the regular season behind them Wednesday night when they play host to sixth-seeded South Alabama at Riddle-Pace Field in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championships.

The Trojans have been pointing toward the third week of May since before the season started. The focus is now on the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and the opening round against South Alabama. After dropping two of three games on the road against the Jags in the final weekend of the regular season, Troy (32-21) returns home to host the conference tournament for a chance to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals.

The Trojans will send Travis Burge to the mound Wednesday night against South Alabama (25-28). The senior lefthander is 5-2 on the season with a 5.48 earned run average, and it will mark his second start against the Jags in a week. He started at South Alabama last Friday and allowed five runs on eight hits in just three innings of work. He took the loss in that game, marking his only loss in league play this season. That loss also snapped a streak of six straight wins for the Trojans in games that Burge took the hill. On the year the Trojans are 11-4 when Burge pitches.

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This game will be the 49th meeting all-time between Troy and South Alabama, with the Jags leading the series 30-18. However, Troy leads the all-time series at Riddle-Pace 13-12, including winning the last two games played here last season.

It will be the first league tournament Troy has hosted since the 1996 Mid-Continent Conference Tournament and will be the seventh time a conference tournament title will decided at Riddle-Pace.

The Troy baseball program has competed in conference tournament in four different leagues. The Trojans first appeared in the Gulf South Conference Tournament in 1978 and made 12 GSC Tournament appearances over 14 seasons through 1991, winning seven tournament titles over that stretch. Troy made its entry into the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament three times (1995-97) and took home the league title twice. During eight seasons in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Trojans made six tournament appearances but never captured the tournament title. This year marks Troy’s fourth appearance in the Sun Belt Conference tournament in as many years in the league. The Trojans captured the SBC Tournament title in 2006. Overall, Troy has a 53-33 record in conference tournament games, including a 5-4 mark in the Sun Belt Tournament.

The game is slated for a 7:30 pm first pitch at Riddle-Pace Field.