MONROE, La. – Troy scored twice in the eighth and had the tying runs on base, but the rally fell short as ULM knocked off the Trojans 4-2 Friday night at Warhawk Field in the Sun Belt Conference series opener.
Troy loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the eighth after Josh McDorman drew a leadoff walk, Garrett Pitts singled and Brandon Brown was hit by a pitch. Tyler Vaughn lined the first pitch he saw from Cale Wine into right-center field to plate two and cut ULM’s lead in half, 4-2.
Cale Wine, who tossed a complete game for ULM, escaped the jam with a strikeout and grounder. Wine (3-3) held the Trojans to just four hits in the game and was helped out by three double plays behind him; he struck out five and walked three.
ULM turned a leadoff walk in the fifth into a three run inning, which proved to be the difference. After Tanner Hicks issued the walk to Logan Fiasco, he battled back to strike out back-to-back Warhawk hitters. Following an infield single, Corben Green hit his third homer of the season to give ULM a 4-0 lead.
The Warhawks (9-13, 1-3 Sun Belt) pieced together an unearned run in the second inning. Hicks struck out the side, but Chris Dudley reached on a wild pitch on the second strikeout of the inning. Dudley moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Fiasco.
The Trojans (13-7, 1-3) looked poised for a big fourth inning, but an umpire ruling changed the course of the frame. Vaughn led off the inning with a single and Logan Pierce followed with a sharp line drive to the feet of ULM third baseman Judd Edwards. Neither the Troy dugout nor Vaughn heard an out call on the play and Vaughn was doubled off at second after the ball was ruled a catch following a conference between the umpires.
Danny Collins was then hit by a Wine pitch that would have put runners at first and second. Trae Santos followed with a single through the right side of the infield that would have plated Vaughn for the tying run.
Hicks (3-1) was charged with his first loss of the season after he allowed four runs – three earned – on six hits in six innings of work. He struck out a career-high eight batters in the game and walked a pair.
Troy and ULM will play game two of the series on Saturday at noon; the start time was moved up from 4 p.m. due to the threat of rain in the area.