TROY, Ala. – Ali Knowles lined a two-out, walk-off double into the gap in right-center field to give No. 25 Troy a 1-0 victory over Arkansas State in 10 innings Friday night at Riddle-Pace Field. The victory was Troy’s 17th straight home win, which is the longest streak in the nation.
Matthew Howard set the table for Knowles’ heroics with a one-out double off the wall in right field. Clay Holcomb took over on the bases for Howard and scored the winning run on Knowles’ sixth double of the season.
Troy (36-13, 17-8 Sun Belt) has now won 12 of its last 14 games and 23 of its past 29 games; Friday’s win was its 11th straight Sun Belt win at home.
Troy’s Tanner Hicks and Arkansas State’s Daniel Wright dazzled the fans at Riddle-Pace Field all night with their spectacular pitching performances. Hicks scattered six hits and struck out six over 7.2 scoreless innings, while Wright stuck out six and allowed just four hits over nine scoreless innings.
Arkansas State (24-26, 10-15) had a prime opportunity to crack the scoreboard in the top of the 10th after an infield single by Claude Johnson. Nate Hill’s throw on the play was high which allowed Johnson to take second. Tanner Ring took Johnson’s place at second and made a critical mistake.
Following a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, Stuart Levy flew out to right field and Ring tagged up to take third base. However, the Trojans appealed that Ring left early and the umpires agreed and Ring was called out for the final out of the frame.
Hill (4-2) picked up the win for the Trojans after he tossed the final 2.1 innings; he struck out two and allowed just the soft infield single.
Troy had a chance in its first at-bat to take an early lead after Tyler Vaughn led off the game with a double and Logan Pierce drew a walk. However, Wright was able to get out of the jam with a couple of fly outs and a strikeout.
Vaughn and Garrett Pitts both finished with two hits in four at-bats to lead the Trojans while Johnson had two hits – neither of which left the infield – to lead the Red Wolves.
Danny Collins, Pierce, Josh McDorman, Hill, Ryan Sorce, William Teal and Thomas Austin all graduated Friday afternoon in Troy’s Spring Commencement Ceremony in Trojan Arena.
The teams will meet for game two of the series Saturday at 3 p.m. The start time was bumped up three hours due to the anticipation of rain in the Troy area Saturday evening. The series finale on Sunday will be Fan/Mother’s Appreciation Day at Riddle-Pace Field as all fans will be granted free admission.