Troy defeats MTSU to even series

Published 8:52 pm Saturday, April 14, 2012

With two outs in the fifth inning, freshman Jo-El Bennett singled home Danny Collins to give Troy the lead. Joe Hernandez made sure Troy kept it as the Trojans knocked off Middle Tennessee State, 6-2, on Saturday.

Hernandez (3-1) tossed 6 1/3 innings and struck out a career-high eight batters to earn the win. The only blemish on the junior’s final line came after Troy center fielder Clay Holcomb dropped a fly ball with two outs. The Blue Raiders’ next batter, Trent Miller, lauched a two-run homer to give MTSU an early lead.

Troy (15-19, 4-10) would respond in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Hannah reached base after Miller dropped a fly ball in right field. Hannah would later score when Danny Collins double to right.

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The Trojans would tie the game in the fourth on Jake Harrell’s third home run of the season. Bennett would give Troy the lead the following inning.

In the sixth, Collins would launch a full-count fastball over the wall in right field and expand Troy’s advantage to 5-2. Collins finished 2-for-3 with a trio of RBI. The Trojan third baseman is 7-for-11 (.636) with a pair of homeruns and nine RBI in three games this week.

Hernandez would be leave in the seventh with cramps. The junior allowed just five hits in the first quality start turned in by a Trojan pitcher since Tyler Ray allowed just two runs in 7 2/3 innings against Monmouth on March 9. Thomas Austin would close the game for Troy, earning his first save of the season.

Harrell would reach in the seventh after being hit by a pitch. Brandon Brown would replace him on the bases before Holcomb laced a double down the left field line allowing Brown to come all the way around to cap the scoring.

Ryan Brady (0-2, 3.27) will get the start in the rubber match for the Trojans. Brady threw two innings in relief on Tuesday against Jacksonville State, striking out four. Brady made his last start on April 7, against Florida International where he allowed two runs in just two innings of work.

Middle Tennessee will counter with right-hander Jonathan Sisco (5-1, 1.76).

With the series tied, Troy and Middle Tennessee will meet for game three at Riddle-Pace Field at 1p.m.