TROY, Ala. – Troy (28-11, 10-7 SBC) clinched its three-game series against UALR (18-20, 5-12 SBC) with a 14-6 victory over the Trojans in game two on Saturday at Riddle Pace Field. Senior Blake Johnson led UALR with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate to go along with three RBI and two runs scored.
Leading 1-0 after three innings of play, Troy plated seven runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-0 lead. After Troy added another run in the fifth, UALR responded with five runs on five hits in the top of the sixth. UALR pulled as close as 9-6 on a solo homer by Johnson in the seventh, but Troy added five more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to push its lead to 14-6.
Johnson’s solo homer was one of three UALR home runs in the contest. Seniors John Clark and Chris Burk added back-to-back homers as part UALR’s five-run sixth inning. Burk collected two hits in the game and added an RBI and a run scored.
Senior Blake Huffman was dealt the loss to drop to 4-3 on the season. Huffman started the game but lasted just 3.1 innings after giving up eight runs on five hits. Senior Bubba Cooper came on for Huffman with one out on the board in the fourth and gave up one run on one hit in 1.2 innings pitched.
Troy’s Shane McCain improved to 7-0 on the season with the win. McCain struck out eight UALR hitters and allowed five run on five hits in 5.2 innings of work. Nate Hill worked the final 1.2 innings to pick up his second save of the season.
Troy scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Trae Santos drew a walk to lead off the frame and came home on Josh McDorman’s double to the right-center gap. After both teams went scoreless in the third, Troy exploded for seven runs on four hits in the bottom half of the fourth. Danny Collins started the frame with a leadoff double. Santos was then hit by a pitch, and Matthew Howard reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases for Troy. A wild pitch advanced all runners and put Troy up 2-0. After McDorman drew a walk to again load the bases, Ali Knowles hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw to make it a 6-0 deficit for UALR. A two-RBI double by Logan Pierce later in the inning plated the final two runs of the frame and increased Troy’s lead to 8-0.
An RBI single by Knowles in the bottom of the fifth gave Troy a 9-0 lead after five innings, but UALR responded with five runs on five hits in the top of the sixth inning. After juniors Bryson Thionnet and Ben Crumpton drew walks, Johnson ripped a two-RBI double down the left field line to bring in the Trojans’ first two runs of the game. The next batter, Clark, homered to left center to make it a 9-4 game, and Burk made it back-to-back bombs for the Trojans when he homered in the next at-bat and pulled UALR within four, 9-5.
Johnson’s solo shot in the top of the seventh made it a 9-6 game, but that would be as close as UALR would get. With the Trojans’ deficit still at three in the bottom of the eighth, Troy plated five runs to up its lead to 14-6. Collins’ two-RBI double to right brought home the first two runs of the inning, while a throwing error allowed Santos to score the third. A two-run homer by McDorman capped the five-run inning for Troy and put the Trojans deficit at eight heading into their final set of at-bats.
A one-out single by Crumpton gave UALR a baserunner in the ninth, but Hill retired the next two Trojan hitters to pick up the save and secure the win for Troy.
UALR and Troy will play game three of their series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Junior Travis McDonald is scheduled to get the start for UALR, while Ryan Sorce will be on the hill for Troy.