ATLANTA, Georgia – Troy scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Georgia State, 5-3, in the Sun Belt series finale Saturday afternoon at the GSU Baseball Complex.
The Trojans (18-16, 6-9) struck for one in the first inning on two hits and were not able to hit safely again until Steven Whitaker led off the ninth with a single. Two batters later, Brandon Lockridge got the rally going, ripping a double down the left field line to score Whitaker. Lockridge finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a double.
Following two hit batsmen, an unlikely hero emerged in the form of designated hitter John Tatum. Tatum, in his first ever start for the Trojans, tied the game up on a one-out bases-loaded single.
The Trojans added one run on a fielder’s choice from Mack Hathcock and another on an infield single from Matt Sanders to take a 5-3 lead.
Andrew Crane (2-1) entered in the sixth inning in relief of Austin Crook and delivered another quality performance on the mound – scattering only two hits and striking out three in 3.2 innings of work.
Corey Gill earned his third save of the season after dealing a three-pitch, game-ending strikeout with the bases loaded and two outs.
Georgia State (13-22, 3-12) looked to be cruising toward a series sweep behind the arm of Hunter Gaddis. Gaddis allowed a run and two hits in the first inning and did not afford the Trojans another hit until the ninth.
Tyler Koch (0-1) relieved Gaddis after Lockridge’s double and allowed Troy to score the eventual game-winning run.
“I thought we had some really tough, clutch, determined at bats,” Troy head coach Mark Smartt said. “I’m really proud of that comeback in the ninth. We finally get a positive feeling around our team and a positive moment to head into this five-game week coming up.”
SOUND “SMARTT” WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• After losing his hitting and reached base streaks Friday night, Brandon Lockridge started a new one with his RBI single in the first.
• Lockridge had his team-leading 16th multi-hit game of the season – 31st of his career.
• Troy won its first game this season when trailing after eight innings after previously being 0-11 in that situation – 1-32 all-time under Coach Smartt.
• The Trojans also improved to 4-1 this season following consecutive losses.
WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Troy will return home for a mid-week contest with in-state rival UAB. First pitch for Tuesday’s matchup at Riddle-Pace Field is set for 6 p.m.