Troy comeback falls just short

Published 11:07 pm Friday, April 13, 2012

TROY UNIVERSITY – Troy scored six runs over the final two innings of the game and had the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but couldn’t quite compete the comeback in a 12-10 loss to Middle Tennessee in the Sun Belt Conference series opener Friday night at Riddle-Pace Field.

The Blue Raiders (21-13, 9-4 Sun Belt) carried a 12-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning before the Trojans made a furious rally all with two outs in both innings.

Boone Shear belted a two-run home run over the 30-foot wall in right field after Danny Collins kept the eighth inning alive with a single to right. Shear was 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs, Collins was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs and Logan Pierce was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored; the 3-4-5 hitters in the Troy lineup accounted for seven of the Trojans nine hits.

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Clay Holcomb started the rally in the ninth with a two-out single to right field and then back-to-back walks by Kooper Kessler loaded the bases for Pierce. The Troy first baseman, who entered the game leading the Sun Belt in hitting, lined a single to left field for the first run of the inning.

Collins then skied a high fly ball to right field which Trent Miller dropped allowing all three runs to score and for Collins to advance to third. That brought Troy’s leading home run hitter and the number two RBI man in the Sun Belt Conference to the plate in Shear. Shear worked a 2-2 count off MTSU reliever Joey McClung before popping up in the infield for the final out of the game.

Middle Tennessee jumped out to an 8-1 lead after five and a half innings of play. The Blue Raiders scored three in the first inning sparked by a two-run homer by Hank LaRue. After Tyler Vaughn put the Trojans (14-19, 3-10) on the board with a sac fly in the second, MTSU struck back with three in the third and two in the sixth.

Robert Lawrence led a 21-hit attack by the Blue Raiders with four hits in six at-bats including a pair of triples. Justin Guidry, LaRue, Johnny Thomas and Ryan Stephens all had three hits.

The Trojans cut into the lead in the home half of the sixth inning on a double by Pierce to score Tyler Hannah and a two-run home run by Collins. However, the Blue Raiders came right back with four runs in the top of the seventh.

Hunter Adkins (5-3) picked up the win for Middle Tennessee after he allowed four runs – three earned – on five hits over seven innings of work. He struck out a career-high eight batters and walked just two. Kessler was charged with five runs – three earned – on three hits in 1.2 innings.

Tyler Ray (2-4) allowed eight runs on 12 hits over six innings of work and took the loss for Troy.

The teams will play game two of the three-game series Saturday at 6 p.m.