Johnson surpasses 100 career wins as Troy earns series sweep

Published 10:13 am Monday, May 1, 2023

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Troy Softball senior Leanna Johnson continues to etch her name in the Troy record book as she became the first Trojan pitcher to surpass 100 career wins this weekend as Troy dominated Georgia Southern in a Sun Belt Conference series.

The Trojans (33-15-1, 14-6-1) remain in fourth place in the conference behind Louisiana (19-2), South Alabama (17-4) and Marshall (14-5) as Troy swept Georgia Southern this weekend in the final home stand of the season.

Troy shutout the Eagles in two of the three contests and outscored Georgia Southern 22-3 in the three matchups. The Trojans started off the weekend with a 3-0 shutout win on April 28 as Johnson earned her 100th career win in the circle and her 34th career shutout. Both are Troy records. Johnson also became just the 105th player in Division I history to win 100 career games at pitcher. Earlier this season she surpasses 1,000 career strikeouts, becoming just the second Trojan to ever accomplish that feat.

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“Leanna does it again,” Troy coach Eric Newell said. “I’m so happy for her tonight and for her career, as well.”

Troy only got six hits as a team in game one but Kelly Horne belted a home run and both Natalie Turner and Taylor McKinney scored runs, as well. Johnson pitched a complete game, striking out nine batters and giving up just four hits and no runs in seven innings in the circle.

On Saturday, Troy secured the series win with a resounding 11-3 victory. Troy jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning but Georgia Southern took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning only for Troy to score seven straight runs and never trail again.

Anslee Finch led Troy at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs, while Taylor McKinney went 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, four RBIs and two runs. Horne also went 2-for-3 with a run and Jade Sinness went 2-for-3 with three runs. Aayanah Hughes, Turner and Libby Baker scored one run each.

Haley Pittman got the win in the circle, striking out one batter and giving up four hits and no earned runs in two and 1/3 inning pitched, while Oliva Cato pitched two and 1/3 innings and gave up three hits and two earned runs.

The Trojans completed the series sweep with another shutout, capturing an 8-0 win on April 30. Troy celebrated Senior Day in style as a pair of Troy’s most prolific seniors took center stage in Johnson and Horne. As Troy led 7-0 going into the sixth inning, Horne blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the inning to secure the 8-0 win for Troy.

Both Horne and McKinney were menaces at the plate with Horne going 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs. McKinney went a perfect 2-for-2 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and two runs. Sinness also scored two runs, while Emma Grace Walker and Baker scored one run each.

Johnson earned her 35th career shutout as she tallied five strikeouts and gave up just one hit and no runs in six innings pitched. The win moved Johnson to 25-6 on the season, which is best in the conference. Her 183 strikeouts are also third in the conference, while her 1.71 ERA ranks fourth in the Sun Belt.

Troy closes out the regular season this weekend with a pivotal conference road series against rival South Alabama. The Jags are sitting in second place of the conference with Troy in fourth. The series will factor heavily into the Sun Belt Tournament seeding later this month.