Upset-minded Troy opens Sun Belt tourney against Arkansas State

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Each and every member of the Troy baseball team knows what they have to do to make it back to the NCAA Regionals.

With the Trojans below .500 on the season, the only hope they have of advancing past this weekend is to win the tournament.

Troy, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, opens the Sun Belt Championship Wednesday against Arkansas State. The Trojans and Red Wolves played a close, highly contested three-game series in Jonesboro two weeks ago. Troy won the first game of the series 2-1, before falling 10-7 and 8-5 in the final two games.

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“We didn’t have a lot of confidence going up there, but we got a great pitching performance to open the series and get a win,” said Bobby Pierce, Troy head coach. “We didn’t get another win up there. We should have, but we didn’t. We were forced to come back down here and fight our way in to the tournament. We did and now it is a new season for us.”

Prior to losing to the final two games this season, Troy had won 13 straight games in Jonesboro against Arkansas State.

Pierce feels the Sun Belt Conference will get a maximum of two bids to NCAA Regionals this year, so he is placing utmost importance on the tournament.

“I think we will get a couple of teams in this year,” Pierce said. “It Lafayette wins the tournament, then I think it will probably be just one. We expect to have a very close, tight game with Ark State, like all of our games this year. It’s a new season now. Everyone is zeroed out. All it takes is five perfect days and things are all good again.

The Trojans are 15-12 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and looks to claim its first tournament title since 2006.

Troy and Arkansas State are set for a 4 P.m. first pitch from Stanky Field on the campus of the University of South Alabama in Mobile.