TROY, Ala. – Josh McDorman hit a one-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Troy past Middle Tennessee 3-2 in the Sun Belt Conference series opener Friday night at Riddle-Pace Field.
Trae Santos led off the ninth with a single up the middle off Middle Tennessee closer Paul Mittura and was lifted for pinch runner Clay Holcomb. Matthew Howard tired to sacrifice Holcomb to second but drew a four-pitch walk to put two on and no out. Garrett Pitts laid down a perfect sac bunt to move the winning run to third base for McDorman.
McDorman swung at a first pitch slider in the dirt and then lined the second pitch from Mittura – another slider – into right field for the game-winner. McDorman scored the Trojans first run of the game after singling with two outs in the second and scoring on a double by Ali Knowles.
Troy (17-7, 4-3 Sun Belt) took a 2-1 lead into the top of the ninth inning and Middle Tennessee (16-12, 3-4) was down to its final strike against Nate Hill. Ryan Stephen, who finished 3-for-5, hit a bloop single on a 1-2 pitch into shallow center field and Johnny Thomas doubled to left-center to tie the game; McDorman almost came up with a remarkable catch on the play.
Hill (1-1) picked up the win for the Trojans after taking over for starter Tanner Hicks with two on and one out in the sixth. Hill finished with four strikeouts, a pair of walks and two hits allowed over 3.2 innings of work. Hicks allowed just an unearned run and six hits over 5.1 innings of work; he struck out six and walked three.
Following back-to-back walks and a sac bunt to open the sixth, Hill came out of the bullpen and got a pop up and a grounder to end the threat; Middle Tennessee stranded 12 runners in the game.
Danny Collins put the Trojans in front 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning with a majestic home run to left field. It was his sixth long ball of the year and 35th RBI.
The Blue Raiders scored the game’s first run in the top of the second thanks to a Trojan error. Trent Miller led off the inning with a double, but made an ill-advised decision to go to third on a grounder to short; however, his slide knocked the ball out of Logan Pierce’s glove. Hank LaRue followed with a line drive that hit Hicks in the chest and ricocheted into shallow center field for an RBI single.
Mittura (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing the run on two hits and a walk in a third of an inning. Blue Raider starter Hunter Adkins struck out seven Trojan batters and scattered five hits over 7.1 innings.
Troy will go for the series victory on Saturday when the teams meet at 6 p.m. for game two of the three-game set.