No. 21 Troy defeats Arkansas State in Sun Belt tournament opener

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Courtesy: Troy University

LAFAYETTE, La. – Levi Tate and Jeremy McGowan combined to pitch 5.2 scoreless innings as No. 21 Troy defeated Arkansas State 3-2 Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Tigue Moore Field in Lafayette, La.

Tate entered with just 11.1 innings under his belt on the year and the start was his third of the year, while McGowman had thrown only 10.1 innings over seven outings. Tate struck out four and scattered five hits over his 2.1 innings and McGowan (1-0), who earned the win, held the Red Wolves to just one hit and struck out five over 3.1 innings.

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Nate Hill picked up his fifth save of the season after working the final 3.1 innings of the game. Hill moved into fourth place on the Troy career strikeout list with 218 after fanning three Red Wolves, including Logan Uxa to end the game with the tying run at second.

Troy (40-16) reached the 40-win plateau for the seventh time in school history and for the fourth time since moving up to Division I.

Trae Santos hit his Sun Belt leading 16th home run of the season to lead off the second inning and give Troy a 1-0 advantage. Garrett Pitts doubled off the wall in left with one out in the fifth and scored on a two-out single by Brandon Brown. Tyler Vaughn extended the Trojan lead to 3-0 as he followed with a double down the line in left.

The Trojans did their damage against All-Sun Belt First Team selection Daniel Wright, who went the distance for Arkansas State (26-30). Wright struck out three, did not issue a walk and allowed three runs on eight hits.

Arkansas State had chances early but stranded eight runners over the game’s first three innings. The Red Wolves left two on in the first and the bases loaded in the second and third; ASU had the bases loaded with no outs in the second.

Troy entered the Sun Belt Tournament as the No. 1 seed after splitting the regular season championship with South Alabama.

Troy will take on fourth-seeded Florida Atlantic in a winner’s bracket game at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to the bracket championship round and will have Friday off.