Trojans handle Blazers

Published 3:00 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Troy Trojans won a pitchers duel 2-1 over the UAB Blazers on Wednesday.

“I can’t remember the last time we had all three hits in one inning,” said Troy head coach Mark Smartt. “I was really proud of our pitching staff tonight. I thought they did a great job at managing a very tough game. It was a great win for us.”

In the second inning the Trojans (5-0) took advantage of a Blazer error and key hits to put up the two runs. Whindham Jackson grounded to the shortstop, who overthrew the first baseman sending Whindham to second base. Steven Whitaker drove the game’s first run when he smashed the wind-aided baseball over the leftfielder’s out reached glove.

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Brandon Lockridge slapped a base hit past the shortstop to give the Trojans the 2-0 lead early.

The Blazers answered quickly when Brewer Hicklen sent the ball over the wall in center field to cut the Trojans lead in half.

The Trojans received a solid start by freshman Zach Lightsey, who pitched four full innings while only giving up two hits, allowing just one run. The freshman struck out five batters while walking two.

“I thought he was really good,” Smartt said. “He made one mistake on an 0-2 fastball and the guy smoked it to center. It was a freshman mistake, but he made some good pitches with the game on the line.”

The Trojans got into a bit of trouble of the sixth inning when two runners reached base with just one out. With runners on the corners, pitcher Robert Harris struck out Riley McCown and forced Carter Pharis to ground out first to get out of trouble.

Troy’s defense again came through in top of half of the eighth inning. With the tying run at third base, Bert Given fielded a ball at third base and fired home to catcher Chase Smartt, who put the tag on the runner.

The win comes against a team that has given the Trojans problems throughout the year.

“They have really handled us as of late,” Smartt said. “We had one win in our last seven or eight, so to get a win against an instate rival at home and start our season five in a row at home I think is really important.”

The Trojans head out for the first road trip of the season when they travel to take on Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m. Friday.