TROY, Ala. – After playing to well past midnight on Thursday night in a disappointing loss to Western Kentucky, the Troy Trojans played like a team with a hangover on Friday against ULM, dropping a 16-1 decision to the Warhawks at Riddle-Pace Field.
With the loss, the Trojans see their season come to an end with a 33-23 final record. ULM (30-26) advances to face WKU tonight for a chance to advance to championship Saturday in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Warhawks will have to defeat WKU twice to get into position to earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
“Last night’s game, losing the lead the way we did, is awfully tough for a team to come back from,” Trojans coach Bobby Pierce said. “Credit ULM, they scored early and often and we couldn’t score. You have to be able to find a way to score some runs. We couldn’t get it going today and they did.”
ULM got off to a quick start when, after a one-out walk, senior Ben Soignier hit the first pitch he saw from Troy junior Andrew Dickinson (2-2) over the wall in right center to give the Warhawks a 2-0 lead in the first.
Soignier struck again in the second inning, capping a five-run frame for the Warhawks with a three-run homer to left to chase Dickinson from the game. The seniors’ five runs driven in give him a school season record total of 70 RBI for the year.
The Warhawks blew the game wide open in the third inning, scoring six times, all with two out, against sophomore Drew Hull. Jordy Poche, who had an RBI double in the second, got things started with a two-run homer. Including the homer, the Warhawks hit for the cycle over four batters.
Hull was lifted after allowing six runs and junior Robby Loew was greeted by a two-run double from Matt Collins to cap the frame and give ULM a 13-0 lead.
Poche singled in another run in the fourth for ULM, running his RBI total for the game to four. The Warhawks added two more runs in the sixth after getting four straight two-out hits off Troy senior Josh Storm.
The only positive to come from the game for Troy was the fifth inning triple by Chad Watson, breaking a 24-year-old school record for triples in a season (six by Ed Nix in 1985). Watson scored on a ground out by Charley Williams to break the shutout.
ULM starting pitcher Don Williams (6-2) kept the Trojans off balance all afternoon and went the distance in the run-rule shortened game. Williams allowed just the one run on eight hits while walking one and striking out five over seven innings.
Daryl Otwell and Jake Sullivan had two hits each to lead Troy. Poche had four hits for the Warhawks, drove in four runs and scored three. Boomer Blanchard added three hits for ULM.
“I am proud of our team and our seniors for battling all year long,” Pierce said. “We had a lot of new faces on this club and we finished third in a very good league. We have a lot of build on heading forward into next season.”