Power punch: The Trojans belt four home runs in Friday’s 14-1 route of Eastern Michigan on opening night
Published 3:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2016
Charles Henderson graduate Becca Hartley belted a grand slam in the first inning to help lift Troy to a 14-1 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Friday.
“The girls were really excited about coming out,” said Trojans head coach Beth Mullins. “It was a pretty complete game. It was good pitching and good defense and good offense. If you can do that you’re going to give you a chance to win. I was proud of the girls.
The Trojans exploded in the bottom half of the first inning by sending 10 batters to the plate and plating eight runs on just three hits. Meg Willis got the inning started when she singled to right field scoring Hartley from third base. The Trojans scored the second run of the inning when Amber Jones was hit by a pitch with the bases still loaded scoring Hannah Day to make it a 2-0 game. After the Trojans scored two more runs, Hartley stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning and hit a blast over the left field wall for a grand slam to give the Trojans an 8-0 lead.
“Props to the top of our lineup,” Hartley said. “Becca comes in and gets a walk and Erica moved her over it just trickled down. Then getting a grand slam in the same inning is always going to be big.”
The Trojans followed up with a single run in the second inning when Heather Johnston was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Day from third base.
The Trojans tacked on another run in the third inning and blasted back-to-back homeruns off the bat of Erica Davis and Day in the fourth to give the Trojans a comfortable 11-0 lead. In all the Trojans hit four homeruns.
“It’s not anything we really work on, which is probably why it happens in the games,” Mullins. “We really want line drives. When you’re not trying to hit homeruns, you usually do. Anytime you can put the ball over the fence, it’s a great thing.”
The primary benefactor of all the offense was Claire Graves. The freshman pitcher hamstrung the Eagles offense all evening long and let up just one run on two hits.
“I thought Claire Graves on the mound did a great job coming in as a freshman and opening the season for us.”
The Trojans (1-0) will continue the Trojan invite Saturday afternoon when they take on Evansville at 2:30 followed up by Easters Michigan at 5 p.m.
“It’s going to really test our fight and our finish,” Mullins said. “Fourteen innings is a lot more than five innings. We are going to have to go and stay focused and compete.”