MONROE, La. – Troy scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 5-all tie en route to a 10-6 victory over ULM Saturday afternoon at Warhawk Field to even the Sun Belt Conference series at a game each.
ULM tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to force Troy’s big ninth inning. Trae Santos led off the frame with a single and Matthew Howard moved pinch runner Clay Holcomb into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
Garrett Pitts gave the Trojans (14-7, 2-3 Sun Belt) the lead with a double to right-center field. Pinch hitter Chase Mathis followed with a single to right to score Pitts and give Troy a 7-5 lead. Mathis stole second and scored on a two-out single by Brandon Brown.
Tyler Vaughn followed with a single and Brown scored on a throwing error by the Warhawks. Logan Pierce drew a walk and Danny Collins followed with an RBI double to cap the scoring.
Troy finished with 19 hits on the afternoon led by three each from Vaughn, Collins and Brown. Pierce, Santos, Howard and Pitts added two hits, while Collins and Howard both had a pair of RBIs.
Howard (1-1) also earned the win on the mound for the Trojans after throwing 1.1 innings out of the bullpen. He entered with the go-ahead run at third base in the bottom of the eighth and got a fly ball to end the inning.
ULM (9-14, 1-4) scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first after Troy committed a pair of errors in the inning around a leadoff single.
The Trojans answered right back as they sent 10 batters to the plate and touched up ULM starter Carey Taylor for five runs in the frame, all with two outs. Taylor lasted just 1.2 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits.
Pitts led off the inning with a single and Brown followed with a single to center after two straight outs. Vaughn, who now has multiple hits in six straight games, drove home Pitts with a single to center. Pierce then singled home Brown and Collins doubled down the line in left to plate Vaughn.
Taylor intentionally walked Santos to load the bases and Shelby Aulds was summoned from the ULM bullpen to face Howard, who drove home a pair with a single to left-center field.
Aulds (2-3) took the loss for ULM despite allowing just one run on seven hits over 6.1 innings of work. Chris Dudley and Jeff Fuller had two hits to pace ULM’s 10-hit game.
Fuller pulled the Warhawks within three, 5-2, with a two-out single in the fourth and Kodi Tidwell drove home a run with a two-out double in the ninth. Judd Edwards tied the game with two outs in the eighth on a three-run double.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m.