Troy heads north for pair of tough midweek games

Published 9:38 pm Monday, April 21, 2014

Troy’s weekend series at Arkansas-Little Rock was long in more ways than one.

The Trojans played a total of 35 innings over three days, including a 16-inning marathon loss on Friday night, en route to losing the Sun Belt series to UALR.

“It certainly was a long one,” said Troy head coach Bobby Pierce. “The number of innings we played made it pretty doggone long. Friday we had plenty of opportunities to push a run across and just didn’t. If we score in any of those 14 scoreless innings on Friday, we get to come home with a series win. But we just didn’t get the job done.”

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After Sunday’s 10-4 loss, Troy boarded the bus and made the 527 mile, eight hour rid from Little Rock, Arkansas. The Trojans returned home after midnight Monday, and face a short turnaround for a pair of midweek games against in-state opponents.

Troy will travel to Birmingham on Tuesday to face Samford before making the 80 mile trip to Jacksonville on Wednesday to take on long-time Trojan rival Jacksonville State.

Pierce said the tough week of games isn’t ideal now, but that wasn’t the case when the scheduled was made.

“You do what you can to put together a good schedule,” said Pierce. “We got to looking at it, and decided that it was an awfully long trip to just play one game and turn around and go home. We have the chance to get two for one on this trip, but it isn’t coming at a great time.”

The overnight trip is sandwiched between two Sun Belt series, coming on the heels of the UALR trip and right before Troy welcomes in Texas-Arlington this weekend.

Troy lost to the Bulldogs and Gamecocks earlier this season at home. Jacksonville State eased to a 7-3 win over Troy, while Samford clawed itself out of an early seven-run hole to claim an 11-9 win.

“I don’t know if the players remember the games earlier this season, but neither went the way we would have liked,” said Pierce. “Samford is one that we would certainly like to even the series with. We jumped out to a big lead on them, and then they chipped away at it and took it. Two wins over really good teams with really good coaches would be big for us as we head for home.”

Troy is in the home stretch of the season, and enters the week with just 15 games left before a possible trip to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

Pierce said his team has a simple plan for the rest of the year.

“It’s our time to play now,” Pierce said. “No more excuses. It is time for us to suck it up and go win the games can win.”

Tuesday’s tilt in Birmingham is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch.