TROY, Ala. – Early clutch base hitting and a grand slam from David Hall led the Troy University baseball to an 11-8 defeat of UT Arlington in front of a crowd of 1,763 at Riddle-Pace Field on Saturday. The crowd was the largest of the season and 16th largest in the team’s Division I era.
The Trojans (21-23, 8-11 SBC) came through in two areas where they have struggled this season – stranding runners and two-out hitting. Troy left just six runners on base and scored its first seven runs of the game with two outs.
Shane McCain got the start of the mound but struggled. The senior southpaw allowed just four hits in four innings but surrendered six runs thanks in part to five walks. Marc Skinner relieved Levi Tate (2-0), who would pick up the win, in the seventh and pitched three scoreless innings to earn his fourth save.
Troy struck in the home half of the first inning on a two-RBI triple from Nick Masonia. Garrett Pitts and Hall singled with two outs to bring Masonia to the plate. The junior third baseman then ripped a 3-2 pitch into the corner in left field allowing both runners to score.
In the second, Jakob Nixon singled with two outs to drive home Clay Holcomb. Pitts walked to give Hall a two-out chance. After coming up empty on a 2-0 fastball, Hall took a ball to put him in a hitter’s count. He then hit a laser to left field for his team-high ninth homer of the season. Nixon would finish the game 3-for-5 and is now 6-for-12 with four RBIs in his last three starts.
UT Arlington (19-24, 10-10) wouldn’t go down quietly, however, as the team would score three runs on Matt Shortall’s triple in the third. The Mavericks would add another run in the fourth on a pair of two-out hits of their own. In the bottom half, Hall drove in his fifth run of the contest with a single before Peyton Fuller laced a bases loaded double down the line in left field to plate three more runs.
Troy was able to escape trouble in the fifth when UTA loaded the bases against McCain with no outs. Tate entered the game and allowed two of the runs to score but worked out of further trouble. Shortall struck again for UT Arlington in the sixth with a two-run home run to pull the Mavs to within three.
Behind Skinner’s solid bullpen work, the Trojans improve to 17-0 this season when leading after eight innings. And 318-6 in the category under head coach Bobby Pierce.
Hall, Pitts and Masonia finished the game with three hits each. Hall, who is batting .457 in Sun Belt Conference play, now leads the team with 17 multi-hit games this year, while Masonia’s two RBI gave him the team lead with eight multi-RBI contests.