Troy earns third seed in Sun Belt Baseball Tournament

Published 9:25 am Monday, May 20, 2024

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The Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament begins this week in Montgomery and the Troy Trojans head into the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the conference.

This past weekend Troy battled the weather in the final regular season conference series against the James Madison Dukes, losing 2-of-3 contests.

After losing game one on May 16, the May 17 game was postponed until Saturday due to weather resulting in a doubleheader. The Trojans lost game two by a score of 9-4, securing the series win for the Dukes.

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Kyle Mock led Troy at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a double, one RBI and one run. Aidan Gilroy went 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI and one run. Luke Lyon took the loss on the mound, striking out three batters and giving up seven hits and four earned runs in three innings pitched.

The Trojans bounced back to take game three – and avoid the sweep – by a score of 11-3 later on Saturday. Troy’s usually effective offense got back on track in game three, as the Trojans hit three home runs on the day.

Mock went 3-for-4 with a run, while Will Butcher went 2-for-4 with a double and a run. The reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year Shane Lewis hit a home run, while Kole Myers and Peyton Watts also earned homers on the day. Grayson Stewart earned the win at pitcher, striking out four and giving up one hit and no runs in two and 2/3 innings pitched.

Troy now heads to Montgomery with a first round bye in the double elimination tournament. The Trojans will play No. 6 seed Appalachian State at 9 a.m. on May 22 in their first game of the tournament. Troy and Appalachian State last played in a conference series back in April with Troy winning two games in the series.

Against the Mountaineers, Brooks Bryan had one of the best series of the season for any player in the conference. He went a combined 8-for-14 at the plate in the series with two home runs, seven RBIs and four runs. Kyle Mock also had a stellar game three, going 4-for-5 with a pair of homers, two RBIs and two runs.

Appalachian State’s team batting average (.301) is tied for first in the conference, while Troy’s average (.293) is ranked third. The Mountaineers also hold the top-ranked slugging percentage in the conference with Troy’s on-base percentage topping the conference. The Trojans have also scored the most runs (474) and earned the most RBIs (435) in the Sun Belt. Meanwhile, Appalachian State ranks third in runs scored and RBIs. Appalachian State is second in home runs (87) with Troy coming in third (78).

Defensively, Troy’s opposing batting average (.262) ranks fourth in the conference, while Appalachian State (.267) ranks seventh. Troy’s pitching staff has also struck out the fifth most batters in the conference (434), while Appalachian State’s pitchers rank 11th. Appalachian State is tied for first place for fielding percentage (.975), while Troy ranks 10th (.969). Appalachian State has given up the fewest errors in the entire conference with just 43 on the season, while Troy has given up the fifth most errors (58) in the Sun Belt.

Appalachian State’s Banks Tolley is among the top hitters in the conference ranking first in batting average (.385), home runs (25) and slugging percentage (.798) along with ranking second in RBIs (71). Meanwhile, Troy’s Brooks Bryan ranks first in RBIs (82) and third in home runs (17).

Troy’s offensive output is spread around, however. Kole Myers ranks second in the conference in runs scored (77), Will Butcher ranks second in doubles (21) and third in RBIs (70), Kole Myers ranks first in triples (four) and Ethan Kavanagh ranks second in on-base percentage (.502).

On the mound, Troy’s Luke Lyon ranks first in wins in the conference (8-2 record) and boasts 53 strikeouts on the season. Appalachian State pitchers Bradley Wilson and Dante Chirico have the bottom ranked ERAs in the conference among starting pitchers.

Defensively, Troy’s Will Butcher ranks second in putouts on the season with 439 and third in double plays with 41.

The Trojans have won just one Sun Belt Tournament Crown, back in 2006.

Troy and Appalachian State will play at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery. The game will also stream on ESPN+. The loser of the game plays again Thursday morning in an elimination game, while the winner plays in the third round at 4 p.m. later on Thursday. Games will continue through Sunday when the Sun Belt Championship is played at 1 p.m.