Trojans pitching solid; open season undefeated

Published 9:54 pm Monday, February 13, 2012

The Troy softball team opened its 2012 regular season on a successful note over the weekend. The Trojans finished the Southeastern Louisiana Lion Classic a perfect 5-0 and received dominating performances from some underclassmen along the way.

Freshman Ashley Rainey was nearly unhittable as she tossed 16.2 shutout innings in the tournament including a pair of complete-game shutouts.

Rainey blanked Jackson State in the season opener, striking out eight. The true freshman also made her presence felt at the plate as she blasted her first collegiate home run in the Trojans 9-0 victory.

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“I think she exceeded both the coaches and her own personal expectations for this weekend,” head coach Melanie Davis said. “I feel like we are just touching the surface of her potential, however.”

Troy held off a five-run bottom of the seventh against Kansas in the Friday nightcap. Freshman Jaycee Affeldt battled through a roller-coaster start to pick up the win.

Saturday’s action was highlighted again by the dominating performance of Rainey as the Trojans defeated Nicholls State 3-0. Sophomore third baseman Taylor Smartt led the Trojans with the first of two 3-for-4 performances in the tournament.

Troy pounded Northern Illinois, 10-2, in the second game of the day. Sarah Thomas tossed four hitless innings before handing things over to Affeldt for the final three innings.

The Trojans completed undefeated opening weekend with a 9-2 win over Akron. Hamilton earned the victory in the circle after relieving Thomas, who gave way in the fourth inning.

As a team, Troy completed the tournament with an ERA of 1.80 and allowed just 22 hits in 35 innings of work.

“We grew a lot a staff,” Davis said. “This is a young group that did extremely well.”

Senior Hayden Gann turned in solid number at the plate on the weekend. The first baseman batted .538 with a pair of homers and five RBI. Taylor Smartt finished 7-for-16 (.438) in the five games with three doubles and also had a team-high 13 assists from her third base position.

“Taylor did a good job defensively,” said Davis. “She is a very versatile player and a hard worker.”

The Trojans will host the Quality Inn Classic, which begins on Friday. Troy opens play against sixth-ranked Missouri at 6p.m.