TROY, Ala. – South Alabama scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally from a six-run deficit and defeat Troy 11-10 Friday night at Riddle-Pace Field in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both schools.
The Trojans entered the eighth inning with a 10-4 advantage before the Jaguars began their comeback. Pinch hitter Nick Zaharion drove in a run in the eighth with a grounder to second and Dustin Dalken added a solo home run – his second of the game.
Matthew Howard struck out two of the first three South Alabama hitters in the ninth around a single. Jeff DeBlieux started the rally with an RBI double followed by a walk and an RBI single by Jordan Patterson. Zaharion delivered the big blow with a three-run homer to give the Jaguars the 11-10 lead.
Troy out-hit South Alabama 19-15 in the game thanks to big nights from Tyler Vaughn (4-for-6), Trae Santos (3-for-5) and Kyle Brown (3-for-6). Josh McDorman, Logan Pierce and Brandon Brown added two hits each.
South Alabama (16-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) scored three runs in the top of the first inning before Troy (11-5, 0-1) came back with eight unanswered runs over the next four and a half innings. The Trojans scored two in the first, one in the second and two each in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Jaguars broke the streak of Trojan runs in the sixth on Dalken’s first home run of the night, but Troy answered right back in the home half of the frame with two runs to build the lead out to the six-run advantage.
Howard (0-1) took the loss for the Trojans after he allowed the five runs in the ninth on five hits. The junior right-hander had not allowed a run and yielded just four hits in 11.1 innings coming into the game.
Collin Blakenship (1-0) picked up the win for South Alabama with 3.2 innings out of the bullpen. He allowed two runs – one earned – on six hits. The Trojans chased Jaguar starter Jacob Noble after just 1.2 innings. Kyle Bartsch struck out two in the ninth for his fifth save.
Patterson led the Jaguars at the plate with a 4-for-5 night while Dalken added three hits and DeBlieux had a pair of hits.
Troy will look to even the series Saturday when the teams meet at 6 p.m. at Riddle-Pace Field.