TROY, AL - For the first five innings Tuesday night, the Troy pitching staff couldn't find a way to keep visiting Kennesaw State off the scoreboard.
Senior right-hander Robby Loew put an end to that problem, shutting the Owls down for the final four innings, giving the Trojans a chance to come back to take a 10-8 victory.
With the win, the Trojans improve to 27-21 on the year while KSU falls to 20-28. Troy improved to 21-1 all-time against Kennesaw State with the victory.
"The story of tonight was Robby Loew," Trojans coach Bobby Pierce said. "He pitched great, he pitched competitively, and he had his best stuff late in the game. He hasn't been extended much this year because of arm issues. I definitely liked what I saw out of Robby tonight, he was our savior on the mound."
Even Loew (1-1) struggled early against Kennesaw State, which scored three times in the first, once in the second and twice in both the fourth and fifth innings. Loew came on to get the final out in the fourth, but then gave up a two-out, two-run double to Brandon Brown in the fifth as KSU kept the lead.
"The defense was what really did it for me," Loew said. "I got some ground balls and they were able to make all the plays for me. I felt like I had worked hard and wanted to go back out there and finish in the ninth."
The Trojans had to battle from behind all night, scoring single runs in the first and third innings and two in the fourth on a homer by Miles Hoyle. Troy finally drew even with a four-run fifth inning and then Loew kept the Owls right there.
After a leadoff infield single by Tyler Stubblefield in the sixth, Loew retired 11 straight before allowing a two-out walk in the ninth. In all, Loew worked a career-high 5.1 innings, allowing just the two runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out three.
Junior Adam Bryant finally put Troy on top in the sixth inning when he blasted his team-leading 16th homer of the season. He is now tied for the Sun Belt Conference lead in homers.
The Trojans added a second run in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Ditthardt.
"After being down, the club kept swinging the bats and kept battling," Pierce said. "We made way too many outs on the bases, but we got a lot of hits and did some damage. We started a little flat, but Kennesaw woke us up by scoring early. We continued to fight and battle and we had some good at bats and had some big defensive plays."
Bryant's homer chased Kennesaw State's Brad Long (3-4) from the game. He was the third of six Owls hurlers on the night and allowed two runs on three hits in an inning of work to take the loss.
Overall, Hoyle led the Trojans' 13-hit attack in the game with three hits. Chase Whitley, Todd McRae and T.J. Rivera had two hits each. Bryant scored four times in the game for Troy.
"I have been seeing the ball well lately and getting some pitches to hit," Hoyle said. "There have been some rough spots and some struggles this year, but I have continued to work hard and I feel like I have started to get my swing back and get back into a groove."
Stubblefield and Sean McClurken had two hits each for the Owls in the game.
Fans who missed the game will have a chance to watch the replay on TrojanVision on Wednesday. The game will be replayed at 1 p.m. and then again at 7 p.m.
The Trojans will be back in action on Friday night when they open the final home Sun Belt Conference series of the season against Arkansas State. Troy trails the Red Wolves by just two games in the league standings entering the series and has never lost to ASU, holding a perfect 12-0 all-time record.
"It is a good Arkansas State team that has played well all season," Pierce said. "They are good on the mound and they lead the league in doubles. We will have to play our best baseball this weekend and this becomes the biggest series of the year for us. We still need to make some hay in the league and, if we can win this series and the next one, we have a chance to move up some."
Friday and Saturday's games are set for 6 p.m. starts and Sunday's game, which will be senior day for 13 Trojans seniors, is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.