LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – Two school records were set and another was tied as Troy run-ruled Texas State, 10-0, in eight innings Saturday afternoon to advance to the Sun Belt Tournament championship game against top-seeded Coastal Carolina at Russo Park Sunday.
The Trojans’ (41-18) impressive two-headed attack – on the mound and at the plate – was too much for the Bobcats (30-28-1), leading to Troy’s first championship game appearance since 2010.
Daren Osby (7-1) was nothing short of extraordinary, working eight innings of two-hit shutout work with eight strikeouts and no free passes. Overall, the Trojan pitching staff has dominated their opponents all tournament – allowing just two runs on 12 hits in 26 innings so far.
Troy backed up the pitching performance with 10 runs on 11 hits – four of which came from Matt Sanders. Sanders finished 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, and he broke the school’s career at-bats record in the process (831).
Another Trojan record fell when Joey Denison cleared the bases to reach 74 RBI on the season – breaking Tom King’s 12-year old single-season record of 73. The senior also extended his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games.
Meanwhile, Brandon Lockridge tied the school single-season triples record with his seventh of the season – he already holds the career record with 14. Lockridge also drove in three runs in the game.
Texas State saw its season come to an end after struggling to string together anything at the plate. Anthony Pagano (2-1) wore the loss after allowing four runs – three earned – on six hits in four innings on the mound.
Quotable – Troy head coach Mark Smartt
“Daren (Osby) was just outstanding out there today. Then we gave him a three-run lead and he got even better. Congrats to Joey Denison on breaking that RBI record – he did a great job this year right from the start working with what the two guys ahead of him gave him. Our job isn’t done yet, we came here to win a championship and we’ll try to leave no doubt in the selection committee’s mind tomorrow afternoon.”
• The Trojans saw three new records in the game – Brandon Lockridge single-season triples, Matt Sanders career at-bats and Joey Denison single-season RBI.
• Sanders finished 4-for-4 in the game, tying his personal-high for the fourth time in his career. He has now scored 84 runs this season, as well.
• The trip to the conference championship game is Troy’s first since the 2010 tournament – the Trojans lone tournament win came in 2006.
Troy and Coastal Carolina will square off for the conference title at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The two met back in April at Riddle-Pace Field and the Chants came away with a 2-1 series win – Troy won by two, Coastal won twice by one – in as equally matched of a series as you can find in the Sun Belt Conference this season.