Trojan Softball falls in Sun Belt Tournament

Published 9:28 am Friday, May 12, 2023

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The No. 4 seed Troy Trojans (33-19-1) saw their season come to an end at the hands of No. 5 seed Texas State Bobcats (34-22-1) in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Softball Tournament in Lafayette, La., on Thursday.

Despite All-Sun Belt pitcher Leanna Johnson holding Texas State to just three total hits, those hits were all the Bobcats needed to capture a 3-0 shutout win as Troy managed just one hit on the afternoon.

Both teams were scoreless going into the fourth inning but the Bobcats were able to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning and Texas State scored two more runs in the fifth inning to secure the win.

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Taylor McKinney earned Troy’s only hit of the day. She was also the only Trojan to get on base at all, with the one hit and a walk. Johnson (24-9) took the loss on the mound, striking out four batters and giving up three hits and three earned runs in seven innings pitched.

Texas State’s Jessica Mullins (21-10) gave up just one hit and no runs with four strikeouts in her seven innings in the circle. Sara Vanderford went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double, two stolen bases, an RBI and a run for the Bobcats.

“It’s never fun to have your season come to an end, but I can’t say enough about our seniors; they gave it their all today,” Troy Coach Eric Newell said. “I was proud of our dugout and the way they fought; we believed until the very end. My heart just breaks for our seniors right now.”

Johnson’s career at Troy ends with her going down as one of the best pitchers in Troy Softball history. The Brantley native leaves Troy as the winningest pitcher in school history, second all-time in strikeouts, second all-time in total appearances, first in shutouts, second in saves and second in innings pitched. She earned Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, is four-time All-Sun Belt and three-time NFCA All-South Region. She also won the Trojan Tribute Female Athlete of the Year this season.

“Leanna is special, and she will forever go down in Troy lore; she is the real deal,” Newell said. “At the end of the day, she is a competitor and leaves a legacy at Troy – 100-plus wins, all the strikeouts, but what I love the most about Leanna Johnson is that she doesn’t shy away from the fact that she’s a leader in the community; the way she treats little girls who come to the ballgame and idolize her.”

Troy’s 33 wins marks the fifth straight season that the Trojans have won 30 wins or more in a season.