TROY, Ala. – For a Troy University baseball that is known for being aggressive at the plate, patience was the key on Sunday as the Trojans used a six-run fourth inning to take game three, 10-5, from Western Kentucky at Riddle-Pace Field. The win also handed the Trojans the series victory.
Troy (19-18, 6-8 SBC) trailed 1-0 and had just one hit heading to the bottom of the fourth; that’s when things fell apart for WKU starter Josh Bartley. Three Trojan batters were hit by a pitch and two more were walked in the frame as Troy plated six runs and claimed the lead for good.
With one out, Garrett Pitts and David Hall were walked before Jo-El Bennett and Nick Masonia took pitches off the body to plate the Trojans first run of the game. Trevin Hall became the third consecutive batter to be hit with a pitch as he took a fastball off the elbow to push across the go-ahead run. Tyler Vaughn would then single home another run and Masonia scored on a throwing error on the play. Adam Tewkbury singled to center to end the day for Bartley. The first pitch from reliever Jake Thompson skipped past catcher Ryan Messex allowing the sixth run of the inning to cross.
Six of Troy’s nine base hits in the game came after seeing four or more pitches. Just one – a double by Bennett in the eighth – came on the first pitch of the at bat.
William Shell got the start on the mound for the Trojans but lasted just an inning allowing one run. Ben Tidwell (1-0) took over in the second and tossed 6 1/3 solid innings surrendering one run on eight hits while striking out three to earn the victory.
Western Kentucky (19-17, 7-8) broke into the run column first with an RBI fielder’s choice by Anderson Miller. Regan Flaherty, who led off the game with a double and finished 4-for-5 in the game, scored on the play.
The Hilltoppers would make things interesting with two runs in the eighth to make it a 6-3 game, but the Trojans wasted little time in forming a response.
In the home half of the eighth, Bennett led off with a double and Masonia was hit by a pitch for the second time in the contest. Both runners would come around to score on a Trevin Hall double just inside the third base bag. Vaughn followed with an RBI single in nearly the same spot to increase Troy’s advantage to 9-3. Clay Holcomb would later double to score Vaughn to cap the Trojans scoring efforts. WKU was able to load the bases with no one out in the ninth and scored two runs but Marc Skinner entered the game and promptly recorded three outs to close the game.
Trevin Hall would finish the game 1-for-3 with three RBIs while Garrett Pitts and Tyler Vaughn had two hits each.
Western Kentucky out-hit the Trojans 14-9 in the game and 35-34 over the weekend but Troy used timely hitting to out-score the Hilltoppers 25-16 in the three games.
Ben Tidwell finished off a solid week in which he pitched 12 1/3 innings in four appearances allowing just two runs and striking out six. He also earned the save in Wednesday’s win over Alabama A&M.
Tidwell and the entire Troy pitching staff were aided by outstanding defensive play. The Trojans defense turned six double plays in the series including three on Sunday. WKU defenders committed five errors over the three games while Troy turned in a clean sheet.
In Sunday contests, Troy improves to 6-1 on the season and has won 18 of its last 21.
Troy will have the midweek off before traveling to face UALR over the weekend. The series is set to start on Friday at 6 p.m.