Trojans Fall to ULM at Sun Belt Championships
LAFAYETTE, La. – A seventh inning rally by ULM squandered Troy’s hopes of advancing, as the Trojans (22-30-2) fell to ULM (23-25), 3-2, in the opening game of the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Championships at Lamson Park.
“Most importantly, I’m very proud of our girls and how they battled throughout the year, not just in recent weeks,” said head coach Melanie Davis. “We’ve had our ups and downs on the field this year but these girls showed that they are true Trojan warriors.
“I felt that we were peaking at the right time, winning 4-of-6 heading into the tournament, including a win over South Alabama, a top-25 team in the country. Again, it’s hard to overcome defensive miscues when you’re not really producing big RBI numbers. I’m just disappointed in how we performed offensively throughout the year and it caught up to us today.”
Ashley Rainey took the loss, despite not allowing an earned run. She struck out four over 6.2 innings and closed the season on a stretch of 24.2 innings without allowing an earned run.
Troy wasted no time getting on the board, plating one in the top of the first inning. Kacie McAllister drew a walk, followed by a double by Erica Davis. Next up, Meg Willis drove in McAllister with a sacrifice fly.
The Trojans added another in the fourth, with Michelle Phelps driving in Leah Brundidge from second on an RBI single to left field.
ULM cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring one on an error. The Warhawks did the rest of their damage in the seventh, scoring the game winning run on a wild pitch.
“I’m very proud of Ashley Rainey and how well she’s pitched down the stretch,” Davis said. “The future is very bright with her on the mound for us.
“Moving in to the facility was a huge step forward for the program. We’re very proud of what we have there. I know that the returning kids will spend a lot of time in there, preparing to represent this great university. We’ve got to figure out some things and we need to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can do to be the best that we can be. We can’t wait to get back to work and try to get this taste out of our mouths.
“One thing that is a very sad component of today is that we’re losing three quality Division I softball players, quality human beings and superior student-athletes, in Taylor Smartt, Kacie McAllister and Ebony Wright. They had such great accolades during their careers. Smartt was an all-region selection as a freshman, which made her an All-America nominee. McAllister was an All-Sun Belt First Team member during her junior season and of course Wright was an All-Sun Belt player this season.
“The Sun Belt Conference is one of the top four or five conferences in the nation, ahead of a lot of conferences that produce some great softball, so these girls have shown that they can compete with some of the best in the country.”
Fans can keep up with all the action by following Troy softball on Twitter at @TroySBall.
For more information on all of Troy Athletics, fans can find the Trojans on Twitter and Instagram at @TroyAthletics, or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TroyAthletics.