ATHENS, Ga. – Troy raced out to a four-run advantage in the first inning at Foley Field, but Duke rallied for a 15-6 victory over the Trojans in an elimination game at the NCAA Athens Regional. Troy’s season ends with a 42-21 record following its seventh trip to the NCAA Division I Regionals.
The Trojans were forced into a difficult situation despite winning their first game of the Regional. Because of a lengthy rain delay and a four-plus hour game by Duke on Saturday, Troy’s scheduled game against Georgia was moved to Sunday afternoon. Troy lost to the Bulldogs forcing the Trojans to come back three hours later to face a rested Duke squad out of the loser’s bracket.
Things looked promising for the Trojans early as they sent nine batters to the plate in the four-run first. However, Duke (41-17) answered with three in the top of the second with two coming on the first of Chris Crabtree’s two homers in the game.
Rigsby Mosley put the Trojans back up two, 5-3, with an RBI single in the home half of the second, but the Blue Devils scored four times off two Trojan pitchers in the third to take the lead for good.
Playing for the final time in his Troy career, Sun Belt Player of the Year Joey Denison went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases. He finished the season with a school record 81 RBIs and 127 in his career, the 10th most by a player in school history.
Troy’s 42 wins finish as the sixth most in school history and the Trojans close out the season with a school record 30 triples. Figured to hear his name early in the upcoming MLB Draft, Brandon Lockridge went 2-for-4, while Drew Frederic homered for the second time of the day to go along with a double.
Duke starter Adam Laskey did not make it out of the first inning as he was charged with four runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning. Ethan DeCaster (6-0) weathered the storm for the Blue Devils with 4.1 innings and just two runs allowed to pick up the win.
Max Newton (2-1) took the loss for Troy after he allowed four runs on three hits in just a third of an inning.
Quotable – Troy Head Coach Mark Smartt
“This has been a wonderful team to coach and I’m proud of how they represented this program. We made a Regional as an at-large selection, won 42 games and have a lot to be proud of. At the end of the day, this group accomplished a lot of things that no Troy team has. We’ll have time to reflect on this season soon, but tonight these kids are hurting, they put their hearts and souls into this season.
“We weren’t very good tonight. We started quick and had the right energy entering the game, but we just didn’t pitch very well. We had to go to the bullpen early because Daren (Osby) had a hip issue and it went downhill quick.
“I’m really proud to be the coach of this team and what they accomplished.”
Sound “Smartt with Your Friends”
• Joey Denison extended his hitting streak to a career-high 20 games with a two-run single in the first inning. Denison finished the game 2-for-4 for his third multi-hit game of the Regional in three games and 33rd of the season – it was his fourth-straight multi-hit game dating back to the Sun Belt Tournament.
• Joey Denison stole second and third base in the first inning to give him 21 stolen bases on the season; Troy now has four players with at least 20 stolen bases – Frederic (28), Sanders (26), Lockridge (25), Denison (21).
• Brandon Lockridge finished 2-for-4 for his 22nd multi-hit game of the season and his second straight.
• Matt Sanders extended his hitting streak to a season-high 17 games with a leadoff single in first inning; his fifth hit of the NCAA Athens Regional. He finished his career just seven hits shy of tying Adam Bryant for the Troy career record of 276.
• Drew Frederic finished 2-for-4 with his seventh home run of the season and second of the day (hit a two-run homer against Georgia in Sunday’s opener) … it marked his 21st multi-hit game of the season.
• Rigsby Mosley drove in a pair of runs for his 12th multi-RBI game of the season; he had a sac fly in the first and a run-scoring single in the second.