Trojans even up the series against the Cajuns

Published 8:59 pm Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lucas Brown pitched a complete game and the Troy Trojans evened up the series against Louisiana-Lafayette with a 4-1 win over the 16th ranked Cajuns on Saturday afternoon.

Even after a great pitching performance by Grant Bennett in game one, the Trojans fell short. But the Troy offense did enough on Saturday to back up Brown’s performance.

“Today was an important game because of last night,” said Trojans head coach Mark Smartt. “To get the series even is important. It gives us a chance to win the series on Sunday.”

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The Trojans picked up the win in large part to a spectacular performance by their junior right-hander. Brown pitched all nine innings allowing one unearned run on seven hits and striking out six batters.

“Today is about Lucas Brown,” Smartt said. “He was phenomenal from start to finish. He had total command of the ball. They didn’t have many good swings on him. I thought that was a tribute to how he competed.”

Just like in game one, the Cajuns scored the game’s first run, this time in the third inning. Brian Mills reached base with one out in the inning on an error by shortstop Peyton Fuller and was driven in on a single by Hunter Kasuls.

The Trojans offense picked up Brown and the defense in the bottom of the third inning when they scored two runs on two hits.

Brandon Lockridge started the inning with a walk followed up by a Sanders single to left field. Both runners scored when Austin Hulsey reached on an error by the shortstop.

The two-run answer for the Trojans went a long way in picking up their starting pitcher.

“It was a huge relief, Brown said. “When our offense gets going we can do just about anything. It felt really good.”

The Trojans came back and added onto their lead in the fourth inning when they tacked on a pair of runs to go up 4-1. Cajuns starter Wyatt Marks got the first two batters out with relative ease before the Trojans picked up four consecutive two-out base hits. Lockridge and Sanders began the rally with a pair of singles through the right side of the infield. Trevor Davis brought both of them in with a single that just made it through the infield.

“Lockridge and Sanders did a great job by extending the inning with two outs,” Davis said. “I didn’t want to do too much I just wanted to put the ball into play. I was looking for an off speed pitch, but he threw me a fastball and I was able to put it through the hole.”

From the third inning on Brown cruised. He allowed only three hits over the next four innings.

The right hander ran into a little bit of trouble in the eighth inning when the tying run came up to bat in pinch hitter Kennon Fontenot. After a meeting on the mound, Smartt elected to stay with Brown, who rewarded the decision with a strikeout to end the inning.

With his pitch count already in the triple digits, coach Smartt decided to send Brown back out to finish what he started.

“I came in after the eighth and he (Smartt) said do I even have to ask,” Brown said. “I told him no so he has confidence in me and I have confidence that I can throw strikes.”

Brown finished the game with two quick groundouts followed up by a strikeout.

The win sets the Trojans up with the chance of taking the opening series with a win on Sunday.

“The most important thing is that it’s at home,” Smartt said. “You have to win series at home in order to challenge in this league. To get the series even at one, we are in good shape going into Sunday on the mound. Our bullpen is fully rested. Now it’s about how well we play tomorrow.

The Trojans close out the series with the Cajuns on Sunday at 1 p.m.