BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Troy scratched all the way back from a three-run deficit, capped by a two-run ninth inning to down in-state foe Samford Tuesday night at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
Troy (8-5) saw itself down 4-1 after five innings of play but clawed back with a run in both the fifth and eighth innings and two unearned runs with two outs in the top of the ninth.
The wild ninth inning started when Brandon Lockridge put the Trojans in a position to tie the game with a one-out double. Joey Denison then battled in a two-strike, two-out count and hit a worm-burner right to the shortstop, who booted the ball, made an arid throw to the third baseman to catch Lockridge and allowed the game-tying run to come home.
Denison finished the game 2-for-5 with a double and two more RBIs to move his 2018 total to 21 – he entered the meeting ranked 13th nationally in RBIs.
Two batters later, Drew Frederic stepped to the plate and drove in Denison with an RBI single to bring home the go-ahead run. Frederic reached base in four of his five at-bats with two walks and two singles.
The Trojan bullpen did more than its fair share to keep the squad within striking distance – they combined for eight strikeouts in the final six innings of the game. Jackson Cofer allowed just two hits and fanned three in three innings of relief work.
Lance Johnson (2-0) followed Cofer with two effective innings of his own, seeing only one Bulldog reach base in his stint. Utility pitcher CJ Carter (1) then earned his first career save by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth.
Samford (6-7) was able to get the leadoff batter on base and around to score in each of the first four innings of the ball game. Branden Fryman led the Bulldogs with a 2-for-4 night at the plate and Josh Rich suffered the loss after giving up the two ninth-inning runs.
Quotable – Troy head coach Mark Smartt
“I was proud of our team. I think the story of the game for us was the bullpen. They were great and kept us alive through the game. Then we got to the ninth and got a run to tie it before Drew Frederic had the big hit to score the game-winner.”
• Matt Sanders extended his career-long hitting streak to 21 games with a fifth-inning single. Sanders scored two runs in the game, pushing his season total to 23 – he entered the game ranked third nationally in runs scored.
• Sun Belt Player of the Week Joey Denison drove home two more runs in the midweek matchup, taking his RBI count to 21 on the season. Denison entered the game ranking 13th nationally in the category.
• Troy improved to 14-16 against Samford all-time at Joe Lee Griffin Field – the Trojans had lost six of the previous seven at the venue.
Troy will return to Riddle-Pace Field as it plays host to Gardner-Webb in the final non-conference series of the season. First pitch for Friday’s series opener is set for 6 p.m.