Trojans pitching staff rounding into shape

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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The Troy University Trojans enter the baseball with returners in both the infield and outfield in 2020. With the experience in the field, the defensive alignment is all but set. One area the Trojans are still looking to fine tune is the pitching staff.

They enter the season with their Friday night slot filled by junior Levi Thomas. Behind him Cory Gill, who spent time in the Friday night role last season is recovering from an injury leaving head coach Mark Smartt to wonder when camp opened what his pitching staff is going to look like in 2020.

“The biggest unknown we have right now is who to pitch when,” Smartt said. “We got good options on the mound, just not sure how it lines up yet. That will be our biggest challenge.”

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With Gill recovering from an injury, the Trojans will take their time getting him back up to speed. Smartt is confident he will see time this season, however they may hold him back until the start of the conference season.

“My arm started feeling rough towards the middle of the season last year,” Gill said. “We had surgery on it and the rehab process is going well. Every day it’s getting better and better. We are pushing towards hopefully to three weeks in. We are seeing how it goes day by day. Just going to keep working.”

Thomas pitched in the number one slot at times a season ago. After battling arm problems himself at times, Smartt believes he his is in a good place heading into 2020.

“Levi is probably in as good of a place he has been in his three years here,” Smartt said. “He has really grown and matured. Arm feels better than it has ever felt. I am excited about the maturity he has gained. He has gotten better each year.”

After Thomas, as of three weeks ago when camp opened, Smartt was still unsure of who was going to fill in slots two and three.

“We know who is going to pitch game one,” Smartt said. “Not having Gill to start the year, Levi goes to number one and we are going to have a new guy in the two hole and a new guy in the three hole. I don’t know who they are yet, but I’m excited to see who will fill those roles.”

Bay Witcher, Zach Lightsey, Will Carnley are a few names that pitched meaningful innings last season. A new name that might see some innings is incoming freshman Matt Snell who will also spend time in the infield.

“He is going to make an impact as a freshman. Probably quicker on the mound,” Smartt said. “Of all the names we talk about his name keeps coming up. He is very intriguing. I think he may be somebody that people know more of as the year goes along.”