TROY, Ala. – Troy will put the NCAA’s longest home win streak on the line this weekend when the Trojans play host to FIU in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Riddle-Pace Field; first pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
Troy (32-12, 13-8 Sun Belt) has won 13 straight home games entering the weekend series with FIU (23-21, 11-10), seven of the wins have come against conference foes.
Saturday’s game will be televised live by the Sun Belt Network; the game can be found on CSS or Cox Sports Television. All three games will be broadcast live on the Troy IMG Sports Network with local coverage on 94.7 FM in Troy and worldwide coverage online and on smartphones at TroyTrojans.com/showcase. Fans can watch games one and three of the series live via Trojans All-Access and find live stats for the all games at TroyTrojans.com.
The Trojans are coming off an impressive series victory at Florida Atlantic last weekend; Troy became the first Sun Belt team to win a series at FAU Stadium this season. The Trojans held the Owls to just seven runs over the three games while Trae Santos slugged three homers in the series, including two in the opener.
Santos’ three homers against the Owls propelled him into the Sun Belt lead with 13 on the season; his total is the fourth most in the NCAA. The junior slugger has hit multiple home runs in three different games this year, all of which have been Sun Belt contests.
The Trojans have played well in all three phases of the game this season which is a major reason why they enter the weekend in second place in the Sun Belt, just two games behind South Alabama for first. Troy ranks second in the league in batting average (.301), second in ERA (3.94) and first in fielding percentage (.979).
Tanner Hicks (6-2, 3.63) and Shane McCain (7-1, 3.71) tossed back-to-back complete games to open the series at FAU and will assume the Friday and Saturday spots in the rotation again this weekend.
Hicks has allowed runs in just three of 26 innings over his last three starts; he has struck out 26 batters and posted a 2.42 ERA over that stretch. The junior right-hander has allowed three or fewer earned runs in nine of his 11 starts this year.
McCain tossed a three hitter at Florida Atlantic last week, but he suffered his first loss of the season despite allowing just an unearned run. The junior southpaw is third in the Sun Belt with three complete games and has only walked 20 batters over his last two seasons (120 innings).
Ryan Sorce (5-0, 2.58) will get the start on Sunday for the Trojans. The senior left-hander has a 2.41 ERA in his two Sun Belt starts this season and has struck out 35 batters and walked just four over his last 34.1 innings of work.
A big piece of Troy’s success on the pitching mound can be traced to the left arm of senior Nate Hill. The Trojan reliever has held opposing batters to a .153 batting average over his last 11 outings; he has struck out 28 batters and has posted a 1.44 ERA over 26 innings during that stretch.
The Trojans still boast one of the top offensive clubs in the country as they enter the weekend third in the country in scoring (7.9), second in doubles per game (2.5) and second in extra-base hits per game (3.68).
Danny Collins leads the Trojans and ranks second in the Sun Belt batting at a .381 clip heading into the series with FIU. Collins is fourth in the NCAA with 21 doubles while he and Santos are tied for seventh nationally with 57 RBIs.
FIU enters the weekend series two games behind Troy in a tie for fifth place in the Sun Belt standings. The Panthers dropped a mid-week doubleheader at home to Florida Gulf Coast after dropping 2-of-3 at home last week to Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Panthers come into the series fourth in the league batting at a .298 clip as a team led by Edwin Rios’ .362 batting average and 20 doubles. Catcher Aramis Garcia leads FIU with 10 home runs and has thrown out 50 percent (21-of-42) of potential base stealers.
Junior left-hander Tyler Alexander (3-5, 4.21) will start the opener for the Panthers while junior right-hander Mike Franco (5-2, 5.32) will get the call on Saturday; FIU is undecided on its starter for Sunday.