TROY, Ala. – Troy committed errors on back-to-back sacrifice bunt attempts in the bottom of the ninth inning and Alabama State walked away with a 4-3 victory Tuesday night at the Wheeler-Watkins Complex.
Dexter Swing drew a walk to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Macrus Swint. A wild throw on Branden Castro’s sacrifice bunt attempt put a pair of Hornets (8-1) on with nobody out. Dillon Cooper followed with another bunt and the throw was once again wild which allowed Swint to score the winning run from second.
The Trojans (5-2) forced the ninth-inning dramatics thanks to the bat of Josh McDorman in the eighth. With Troy trailing 3-2, David Hall drew a two-out walk and was replaced on the base paths by Clay Holcomb. Holcomb stole second and moved to third as the throw sailed into center field. McDorman delivered a single back up the middle to tie the game.
Alabama State took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a controversial hit by pitch. With the bases loaded, Richard Gonzalez acted like a Matthew Howard pitch hit him even though it appeared and sounded like the ball hit the knob of the bat.
The Trojans broke through first with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Jo-El Bennett drew a leadoff walk and Tyler Vaughn extended his hit streak to nine games with an infield single. Logan Pierce placed a single down the line in left to score Bennett and put runners on the corners. Danny Collins followed with a line drive to the warning track in center field to plate Vaughn on the sacrifice fly.
Vaughn was the lone Trojan with multiple hits in the game as he finished 2-for-3. Pierce’s single in the third extended his hit streak out to 11 games and Bennett drew a pair of walks.
Alabama State tied the game in the bottom of the frame without a base hit in the inning. A pair of walks and a hit batter with one out loaded the bases. Waldyvan Estrada drew a four-pitch walk to plate ASU’s first run and a fielder’s choice tied the game.
Nate Hill (0-1) was charged with the loss for the Trojans after the unearned run scored under his watch in the ninth; he allowed a pair of hits, walked one and struck out two in an inning of work. Tanner Hicks started for the Trojans and allowed a pair of runs on just one hit in four innings; he walked three and struck out four.
Armando Ruiz (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for Alabama State and picked up the win. Hornets’ starter Anthony Ricciardi struck out six, walked three and allowed a pair of runs on four hits in six innings.
The Trojans open a four-game homestand on Wednesday when they play host to Jackson State at 5 p.m. at Riddle-Pace Field. Freshman southpaw Levi Tate will make his first career start on the mound for the Trojans.