Troy baseball takes series from FAU

Published 3:24 am Monday, April 29, 2013

ICYMI, HERE is the feature I wrote on Logan Pierce that appeared in the weekend edition of The Messenger. HERE is the column I wrote on the offense living up to its preseason hype. It ran on Thursday.

Some moves baseball coaches make can paint them as a genius, others not so much. Troy head coach Bobby Pierce came across as a baseball virtuoso on Sunday when in the fifth inning trailing 2-0 he lifted the slumping Ali Knowles in favor of Jo-El Bennett.

With Garrett Pitts on first base, Bennett, in what was at the moment just his second plate appearance in 11 days, wasted little time before he deposited a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence to tie the game. Bennett would finish the game 1-for-3.

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The Trojans (32-12, 13-8) would go on to win the game, 5-3, and the series. It was Troy’s fourth Sun Belt Conference series victory in seven tries this season.

In a league that is still very much up for grabs Troy earned itself a big boost in the conference standing and in the national RPI rankings. The series win boosted the Trojans to 32nd in the RPI. The only two Sun Belt schools above Troy in the rankings are South Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette, both who defeated Troy in conference series earlier this season. The Trojans will get another shot at South Alabama in the final Sun Belt series of the season May 16-18 in Mobile.

The Sunday victory came on the heels of a rare shutout of Troy. Florida Atlantic topped the Trojans, 1-0 on Saturday and held the league’s most potent offense to just four hits, three of which came off the bat of Tyler Vaughn. The last time the Trojans were shutout was April 17, 2011 when Middle Tennessee defeated Troy 4-0. Incidentally, MTSU blanked Troy the day before as well, 1-0, in the second game of a doubleheader.

Troy will not play a midweek game this week. They will have plenty of time to rest up for another big conference series as Florida International visits Riddle-Pace Field for a three-game series May 3-5.