Troy opens Regionals against Bama

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

The time for talk and speculation is over. The ball will be rolled out and play will begin in the Tallahassee Regional in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.

Troy opens with in-state rival Alabama while host and No. 7 national seed Florida State takes on Savannah State.

Trojan coaches and players alike fell like they are ready to take on the best in the nation.

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“I think our work in the last couple of days is exactly what our team needed. It was pretty relaxed with school being out. A chance to get some extra swings if we needed it, plus we’ve had some full team practices and then some kind of on your own work for some of those guys that need extra things,” Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said.

“Our pitching staff and health of the arms seem to be in pretty good shape. I know everyone is excited about going to Tallahassee. I think it’s a great regional for us, our fans and for me personally. Our players have worked hard to get to this point and regional play is what it is, double elimination, you’ve got to win to move on and there will be only 16 moving on from this point. I know this particular regional, especially its location, is good for our team and our fans.”

Players like third baseman Logan Pierce feel that though the intensity will be heightened, that shouldn’t change the team’s approach.

“Naturally, you’re going to have more intensity as a player. Adrenaline, an extra level of focus is all going to be there because of the stage you’re on,” Pierce said about the Tallahassee Regional. “It’s all about controlling that and using it your advantage, as well as having confidence and focus throughout every game is usually who wins these kinds of games. I think we’re going to keep those under control and play our game.”

The same is true for Troy’s starter in Friday’s opener Shane McCain, saying he is focused on getting batters out not his surroundings.

“It doesn’t really change my approach; I’m going to come in and throw strikes and let our offense work at the plate. I haven’t had a good chance to looking at the scouting report; I really don’t change around who we’re facing. That keeps the defense in the games and our bats alive,” said McCain.

“You try not to let it change and that’s something Coach Pierce emphasizes. I think one reason we’re excited because this team plays well in big situations. Our mental strength starts on day one when come in to the clubhouse in August with our coaches’ instilling a championship focus that we try to have day in and day out.”

Troy and Alabama are set for an 11 a.m. first pitch. The game will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN3.