Troy News Release:
The Troy University baseball team enters the 2010 season with many questions to answer, but those questions don’t involve sophomore pitcher Tyler Ray or the Trojans’ ability to score runs.
Ray turned in a masterful performance in the opening game of the new season on Friday and the Trojans pounded out 17 hits in an 18-2 victory over visiting Hofstra in the first game of a three-game weekend series.
The two teams will square off again on Saturday with the first pitch slated for 1 p.m. at Riddle-Pace Field.
Ray (1-0) surrendered three consecutive two out singles in the first inning as Hofstra (0-1) jumped on top 1-0, but then surrendered only a single unearned run through seven innings as he faced just two hitters over the minimum over the next six frames.
“Tyler probably could not have gone seven innings in a game this early last year, but he has really worked hard to build his stamina and endurance,” Trojans coach Bobby Pierce, who improved to 6-2 in season openers during his Troy career, said. “He threw really well, but the thing I like is that his velocity was just as good in the seventh inning as it was in the first.”
Ray got a big boost from the Troy offense, which pounded on five Hofstra freshman pitchers. Starter Jared Rogers (0-1) took the brunt of the Troy attack, allowing eight runs on eight hits in just 1.2 innings of work.
“We haven’t had many opening games like this,” Pierce said. “Most of the time our openers are nail-biters that go extra innings. I liked the way the middle of the order swung the bat tonight.”
The middle two thirds of the Troy order accounted for 14 of the Trojans hits and drove in 12 runs. Senior Ryan Ditthardt led the way with four hits, three runs and two RBI. He was one of three Trojans – joining Miles Hoyle and T.J. Rivera – who homered in the game.
Overall the Trojans had six extra-base hits.
Defensively, the Trojans turned in a number of sparkling plays from all four players who saw time in the middle infield – Adam Bryant and Rivera as starters and, later, Shohei Fujita and J.R. Myers.
“I have been telling everyone that I thought we would have a very good defensive team and, other than one lazy play, we showed that tonight,” Pierce said.
The Trojans scored at least one run in every inning except the third and sixth, opening the year with a six-run first and scoring four times in both the fourth and fifth innings, while batting around in all three innings.
In addition to Ditthardt, Bryant had three hits, scored three runs and drove in two. Chad Watson, Hoyle, Chase Whitley and Blake Martz all had two hits in the game. Martz led the way with four runs driven in, three of which came on a two-out bases clearing double in the first.
Matt Hancock had two of the six hits in the game for Hofstra and drove in a run.
Freshmen Turner Lee and Cass Abercrombie each worked a scoreless inning on the mound to close out the victory for Troy.
“They are both young guys who are going to have to contribute for this team to be successful,” Pierce said. “It was nice that we were able to get them into the game without there being a lot of pressure on them.”
The Trojans will look for to take the second game of the series on Saturday by sending freshman left-hander Shane McCain to the mound for his collegiate debut. He will be countered by another freshman from Hofstra, Cody Normand.
“Shane has been very good since he first stepped foot on this campus,” Pierce said. “He has much the same poise that Tyler Ray had as a freshman last year.”