TROY, Ala. – Garrett Pitts hit a three-run homer and Josh McDorman added four hits as Troy extended the NCAA’s longest home win streak to 14 games with an 11-5 victory over FIU in the Sun Belt Conference series opener Friday night at Riddle-Pace Field.
The Trojans (33-12, 14-8), who won their eighth straight Sun Belt Conference home game, used a four-run second inning to build a lead and then salted the game away with a five-run seventh. The victory was the 386th of Bobby Pierce’s Troy career, which ties him for second with John Mayotte on the all-time Troy wins list.
Troy, who ranks third in the country in scoring, has reached double-digit runs 18 times this season. The Trojans have scored at least eight runs in seven of their last eight home games.
McDorman led off the second with a single and Matthew Howard followed with a double to set the table for Pitts’ second home run of the season. Pitts, whose last homer came on Feb. 22 against Texas Tech, took a fastball from Tyler Alexander over the 27-foot wall in right field to put Troy on top 3-0. Tyler Vaughn added a sac fly to cap the second-inning scoring.
McDorman finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs while Pitts was 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Vaughn, who entered the game second in the country in runs scored, scored twice in the game and Logan Pierce drove in a pair.
FIU (23-22, 11-11) cut the Troy lead in half in the top of the third on an RBI single by Julius Gaines and an ground out by Aramis Garcia.
Pitts drove in Howard in the third with a double off the wall in right-center field to stretch the Troy lead out to 5-2. Oscar Aguirre cut into the Trojans advantage with a two-run homer in the fourth.
The Trojans had a chance to pull away from the Panthers in the home half of the fourth after loading the bases with nobody out. However, Troy was only able to score one run in the frame when McDorman was hit by a pitch.
The Panthers again made it a one-run game when Aguirre drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the sixth after a leadoff walk and double.
Troy strung together four hits around a couple of walks in the seventh to stretch its lead out to 11-5. Pierce and McDorman both had two-run singles and Vaughn scored on a wild pitch.
Tanner Hicks (7-2) picked up his fourth straight win after striking out six batters in six innings of work; he allowed five runs on eight hits. Nate Hill struck out six and did not allow a hit over the final three innings for his third save of the year; the Troy reliever has struck out 62 batters in 48.1 innings this season.
Nathan Burns was the lone Panther with multiple hits in the game as he finished 2-for-2 with a pair of walks. Alexander (3-6) was tagged with the loss after he allowed six runs – four earned – on seven hits in five innings.
Troy will look to take the series on Saturday when the teams meet for game two of the three-game set. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. and the game will be televised live by the Sun Belt Network (CSS/CST).