*Courtesy Auburn Media Relations*
TROY, Ala. – Jo-El Bennett blasted three home runs as the Troy University baseball team took the final game of the four-game series from Northern Kentucky, 14-4, on Sunday at Riddle-Pace Field. With the victory, the Trojans have now won 10-of-12 season-opening series under Bobby Pierce, who recorded win No. 398 as Troy’s head coach.
Bennett hit a solo home run in the second inning, a 2-run shot in the fourth and a 3-run blast in the eighth to lead the Trojans. Bennett also sent a deep fly ball to the center field warning track in another at-bat but it was tracked down for an out. Bennett became the first Trojan to hit three home runs in a game since Adam Bryant did it on April 8, 2009 against Samford.
“It feels great to come out here and have fun with the guys,” Bennett said. “I’m just trying to stay relaxed and hit the ball hard.”
David Hall entered the game having reached base in all 13 plate appearances of the series, he would extend that streak to 14 before grounding out in the fifth. For the series, Hall was 7-for-9 with two home runs, four RBIs, a double and eight walks; he was also hit by a pitch.
“David was in a good place mentally, very relaxed,” said head coach Bobby Pierce. “I was impressed with a lot of things that we did, but there are always some things we can work on.”
Trevin Hall was 3-for-4 on the day a double and ends the series 8-for-16 with three two-baggers and seven runs scored. Kyle Brown ripped at 2-RBI double in the first inning and later walked with the bases loaded to finish the game with 3 RBIs.
The Trojans continue to hit doubles after leading the nation in the category a year ago. Through four games in 2014, Troy batters have hit 12 doubles (3.0/pg).
Will Starling took the mound for the first time since April 16, 2013 and earned the win. The senior went four innings allowing three runs on five hits, he walked one and struck out four.
Nick Masonia entered the game late but finished with a pair of hits. Peyton Fuller also had two hits. Levi Tate, William Shell and Jesse Nelson all turned in quality performances in relief on the mound.
The Trojans will not play a midweek game as they prepare to host Central Michigan in a four-game series set to begin on Friday at 6 p.m. Saturday’s doubleheader will start at 1 p.m. and the series finale on Sunday is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.