TROY, Ala. – Troy used a pair of big innings and got five solid innings from Ryan Sorce to defeat Auburn 11-2 Tuesday night at Riddle-Pace Field; it was the largest margin of victory by the Trojans in the series.
Sorce (2-0), who was making his first start since the 2011 NCAA Regional, struck out a career-high eight batters and allowed just one earned run (two total) to pick up his second win in as many weeks. Sorce struck out six of the first nine batters he faced in the game.
He combined with Nate Hill to strike out 14 Auburn batters in the game; Troy has struck out 41 batters over the last four games and has only struck out eight times as a team.
The Trojans (16-7) broke a 2-all tie with a five-run fifth inning sparked by one of four Auburn errors. Matthew Howard drew a leadoff walk, Garrett Pitts followed with one of his two hits in the game and Josh McDorman walked to load the bases.
Ali Knowles grounded to second but Mitchell Self’s throw sailed into left field allowing two runs to score. Following a fly out, Tyler Vaughn drove in a run with an infield single and Logan Pierce hit a two-run double down the line in left field.
Vaughn, Howard and Pitts all finished with two hits in the game. Troy belted out 10 hits as seven of the nine starters finished with a hit in the game; it marked the 11th time in 23 games Troy finished with at least 10 hits and the ninth time with double-digit runs.
Two more errors by the Tigers (15-10) led to four unearned runs for the Trojans in the eighth. Danny Collins led off the frame with a walk and Auburn center fielder Ryan Tella dropped a deep fly ball off the bat of Trae Santos. Howard followed with a sac fly while Josh McDorman added an RBI single and Brandon Brown drove in a run with a double.
Auburn opened the scoring with a home run by Jordan Ebert in the top of the first inning, but the Trojans answered back in the bottom of the frame on back-to-back RBI singles by Howard and Pitts. Auburn tied the game in the third with an unearned run on a sac fly by Cullen Wacker.
Trey Cochran-Gill (0-1) suffered the loss for Auburn after he allowed five runs – one earned – on three hits in 1.1 innings of work. Six Auburn pitches combined to walk eight batters and hit two others.
Troy returns to Sun Belt Conference action this weekend with a three-game series against Middle Tennessee at Riddle-Pace Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.