MOBILE, Ala. – Danny Collins and Logan Pierce combined for eight hits, three doubles, two home runs, five RBIs and six runs scored as Troy defeated No. 18 South Alabama 8-3 Friday night at Stanky Field.
A Troy (38-16, 19-10 Sun Belt) victory in the series finale Saturday will split the Sun Belt title between the two in-state rivals. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
Shane McCain and Tanner Hicks combined on the mound to hold the high-powered South Alabama offense scoreless over the final eight innings of the game. McCain struck out six and allowed three runs over 5.2 innings to start the game, while Hicks held the Jaguars scoreless over the final 3.1 innings.
Hicks (8-2) entered with bases loaded and two outs in a 3-3 game in the sixth; on his first pitch leadoff hitter Jeff DeBlieux grounded to short to end the inning. Hicks struck out five over his 3.1 innings and picked up the win while McCain fanned six.
Pierce led off the seventh with his seventh homer of the season to break the tie and put Troy in front 4-3. The blast came off one of the top relievers in the conference in Dylan Stamey; he entered with a 1.82 ERA, .176 opponent batting average and just one homer allowed in 34.2 innings.
Collins followed with a double to the gap in left-center field and Justin Hancock singled with two outs to give Troy a 5-3 lead.
Hicks struck out the side around an error in the bottom of the seventh and the Trojans tagged Stamey for three more runs in the eighth.
Tyler Vaughn reached on a fielder’s choice for the second out of the frame and then four straight base hits extended Troy’s lead to 8-3. Pierce doubled home Vaughn and Collins singled home Pierce for a 7-3 advantage. Trae Santos drove a single to right to put runners on the corners for Josh McDorman who dumped an RBI single into center.
Collins was 5-for-5 on the night with a double, a homer, three RBIs and three runs scored while Pierce finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a homer, two RBIs and a walk. Santos and Hancock both had two hits as the Trojans out-hit the Jaguars (40-15, 20-9) 16-8 on the night.
Collins put the Trojans on the board in the first with his 11th homer of the season. South Alabama answered with its only runs of the game in the bottom of the frame. Jordan Patterson had an RBI single and Nolan Early snuck a two-run homer over the wall in right.
Stamey (5-2) took the loss for the Jaguars after he allowed five runs – two earned – on five hits in 1.2 innings of work.