TROY, Ala. – Danny Collins hit his fifth home run of the season and a trio of Trojans had multiple hits as Troy defeated Hartford 9-5 Friday night at Riddle-Pace Field in the opener of a round-robin weekend.
Tanner Hicks (3-0) turned in his second straight quality start for the Trojans (9-3) to pick up the win on the mound. Hicks allowed three runs on four hits over six innings of work; he struck out five and walked one as he was making his third start in 11 days.
Thomas Austin became Troy’s all-time leader in career appearances as he worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning in his 76th career outing as a Trojan.
Troy took an early lead on a throwing error by Hartford in the bottom of the first inning, but Ryan Lukach tied the game with a solo homer in the top of the second.
Four singles, a walk and a hit batter led to three Troy runs in the third. Trae Santos, Kyle Brown and Peyton Fuller delivered three-consecutive RBI singles to give the Trojans a lead they would never relinquish after Tyler Vaughn was hit by a pitch and Logan Pierce singled to right field.
Vaughn reached base all five times he came to the plate and scored four runs from the leadoff spot; he had two hits, was hit by two pitches and walked once. Pierce finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Brown added two hits in his first action of the season.
The Hawks (0-9) pulled within one, 4-3, in the fourth on a two-run triple by Chris DelDebbio following a single by Lukach. DelDebbio and Lukach accounted for four of Hartford’s six hits in the game.
Troy quickly answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the fourth. Josh McDorman led off the inning with a walk and then stole second base – his fourth of the year. Vaughn followed with a one-out single to put runners on the corners for Pierce who delivered an RBI single to right field. Collins drew a walk to load the bases and Jacob Mellin was called for a balk, which allowed Vaughn to score and give Troy a 6-3 lead.
Vaughn led off the sixth with a single down the line in right field and Collins finally got a pitch to hit two batters later. Collins, who entered the week eighth in the NCAA in home runs, sent his fifth homer of the season screaming over the wall in left-center field to give Troy an 8-3 advantage. Pierce drew a walk with the bases loaded in the seventh to cap the scoring for Troy.
Billy Walker provided the final runs of the night for Hartford with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. Brian Hunter (0-3) suffered the loss for the Hawks after he was charged with six runs – five earned – on five hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Troy and Hartford will play against on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Riddle-Pace Field; the Trojans will wrap up their weekend against Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday at 2 p.m.