Trojans earn series win with 9-4 victory

During their recent skid, the Troy Trojans had trouble generating offense on a consistent basis.

Those troubles continued on Sunday afternoon in every inning but the second. In that one frame, Troy sent 14 batters to the plate and scored all nine of its runs and then held on for a 9-4 victory over Bethune Cookman to take the weekend series.

The Trojans evened their season record at 5-5 while dropping the Wildcats to 4-9.

Not only did Troy score all of its runs in one inning, it did so after two were out in the frame. BCU freshman pitcher Gabriel Hernandez (0-1) struck out the first two Trojans in the inning before allowing a two-out walk to Blake Martz.

From there, the Trojans went to work. Chad Watson followed the walk with a double into the rightfield corner before Jake Sullivan delivered a two-run single to center. After Adam Bryant drew a walk, Steven Felix blasted a fastball high over the monster in right for a three-run homer and a 5-0 lead.

After a Chase Whitley double ended the day for Hernandez, Ryan Ditthardt greeted reliever Joey Munoz with a single. T.J. Rivera followed with an RBI single and then the wheels fell off for the Wildcats. Three defensive errors for Bethune Cookman allowed three more runs to score before Sullivan struck out to end the inning.

For the Trojans, that was the end of the day on offense.

"When you have a big inning like that, you can't get too comfortable, and that is what it looked like we did," Troy coach Bobby Pierce said. "Once you shut it down offensively, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to crank it back up if you need it.

"Give their pitchers credit because they did a good job, and they did make a little run late in the game, but we were never able to get it going again after that one inning."

Not only did the Trojans struggle to generate any offense, they struggled simply to put the ball in play. Five Bethune-Cookman pitchers combined to record 13 strikeouts of Troy hitters. At least one Troy hitter struck out in all but two innings.

While the Troy offense stagnated, the Wildcats finally started getting to Trojans starting pitcher Andrew Dickinson (2-1) in the fifth inning. Dickinson had retired the first 12 Wildcats in order, although there was a hit and a double play to keep that streak alive.

In the fifth he started showing signs of fatigue by allowing a walk and two singles, but got out of trouble without allowing a run. That run ended in the sixth when C.J. Lauriello opened the frame with a homer to dead center. One out later Matt Wright blasted a shot over the wall in right to cut the lead to 9-2.

Dickinson put two more runners on in the inning, but got a ground ball to end the frame. Overall he went six innings, allowing just the two runs on seven hits.

Sophomore A.J. Howard came on in relief in the seventh and promptly surrendered a leadoff homer to Alejandro Sanchez. After Lauriello reached on a one-out walk, Juan Perez doubled off the wall in right to plate another run, cutting Troy's lead to 9-4.

Nick Ward came on and got a ground ball to end the inning. He worked a quiet eighth before Chase Whitley came on to close out the game in the ninth.

Only Watson and Sullivan managed more than one hit in the game for the Trojans, who were out-hit by Bethune-Cookman 10-9 in the game. Catcher Peter O'Brien had three hits and Alejandro Jimenez had two to lead BCU.

The Trojans will be back in action on Wednesday night when they hit the road to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a single game against Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles are coming off a College World Series appearance in 2009 and took two of three games at UL Lafayette this weekend.

"We have played USM enough over the years to know that they have a regional caliber team every year," Pierce said. "Scott Berry has taken over as the coach there, but he has been in the program a long time and we know what kind of foe we will face there this week."

Game time for the Trojans and Golden Eagles on Wednesday night is set for 6:30 p.m.

Troy will return home for the start of Sun Belt Conference play next weekend when Florida Atlantic visits for a three-game series.