Troy rallies to top Appalachian State in Sun Belt Tournament

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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The Troy Trojans came from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Montgomery on Wednesday.

Appalachian State’s CJ Boyd belted a pair of two-run home runs in the first three innings to give the Mountaineers a 4-0 lead heading into the fifth inning. In the fifth, Troy’s bats got hot. All-Sun Belt catcher Brooks Bryan got the inning started off with a solo homer to cut the Appalachian State lead to 4-1. The Trojans then loaded the bases and 2023 Sun Belt Player of the Year Shane Lewis was walked, driving in another run. Next, Kole Myers hit an RBI double into center field that drove both Kyle Mock and Aidan Gilroy home to tie the score 4-4.

Ethan Kavanagh blasted an RBI single into left field to drive Lewis home to give Troy its first lead of the game. Bryan then drove Myers home to extend the lead to 6-4. In the top of the eighth, Appalachian State managed to cut the lead to 6-5.

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Troy pitcher Jay Dill entered the game in the top of the ninth and struck out three of the first four batters in the inning to secure the Trojan win.

“This all felt very déjà vu of 2023 being the three seed with a 9 a.m. start against App State. Credit to (Head Coach) Kermit (Smith) and his crew,” Troy Coach Skylar Meade said. “Their offense is terrifying, with a bunch of great players. You knew it was going to be a battle. Coach Ben Wolgamat challenged the batters before the fifth inning and Brooks responded with that homer to right center.

“From there, the offense got to work and allowed our pitchers in ‘Stew’ (Grayson Stewart) and Ross to take it from there. Ross took the reins and had an emotional eighth inning. Our team stayed composed and got the job done there in the eighth and Dill came in and was pretty nasty. Overall, a good day for the Trojans, but we still have work to do.”

Mock went 2-for-4 at the plate for Troy with a run, while Myers hit a double and Brooks hit his 18th home run of the season. Brooks also earned two more RBIs as Troy’s single-season RBI King continues to add more to his total.

Dill earned his third save of the season, striking out three batters and giving up no hits or runs in one inning on the mound. Grayson Stewart earned his fourth win of 2024, striking out four and giving up two hits and no runs in two innings pitched. Luke Lyon also struck out one batter and gave up four hits and four earned runs in three innings as Troy’s starting pitcher.

For the Mountaineers, CJ Boyd went 2-for-5 at the plate with a pair of homers, four RBI s and two runs. Dante Chirico took the loss on the mound, striking out seven batters and giving up six hits and six earned runs in four and 1/3 innings pitched.

Next, Troy will play the winner of Southern Miss vs. Coastal Carolina in the second round of the tournament on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.