FRESNO, Calif. – The Troy University softball team was mere inches away from winning its fifth consecutive game, but Idaho State snared a potential game-winning home run and claimed a 3-1 victory over the Trojans in the opening game of the Bayer CropScience Classic; hosted by Fresno State University.
Troy (15-7) trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning when they mounted their first potential threat of the contest. Kacie McAllister (Dothan, Ala./Dothan HS) reached on a one-out single through the left side, and advanced to second on a Melissa Pratt (Tonganoxie, Kan./Highland CC) single to left. After a ground out put runners at second and third, senior Kortney Cooper (Dothan, Ala./Northview HS) looked to have given the Trojans the lead in the inning with a blast to left; however, Idaho State's Desirae Hoffman made a catch and brought the ball back in the park for the final out of the inning, allowing Idaho State to hang on to the lead.
The Trojans mounted another comeback in the third inning, getting Kelly Luquette (St. Amant, La./St. Amant HS) to third with one out, following a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Smartt (Troy, Ala./Charles Henderson HS) and a single by Nikki Hollett (Melbourne, Australia). The run was pushed across the plate when Michelle Hewett (Alford, Fla./Chipola JC) doubled to left center to tie game at 1-all.
Troy had a chance in the fourth inning to take the lead once again after a Pratt triple to left to start the inning on the first pitch. However, Idaho State was able to work out of the jam by retiring three of the next four batters to maintain the tie contest.
Idaho State put a single run up in the fifth and sixth innings to take the lead, and hold on for the victory although the Trojans had a chance in their final at-bat.
The Trojans used a lead-off walk to Luquette, followed by another sacrifice by Smartt and single by Hollett, to put runners on the corner with just one out. However, the next two batters grounded out for the final outs of the contest; ending a four-game winning streak.
Morgan Grove (Tampa, Fla./Tallahassee CC) was saddled with the loss out of the bullpen in relief of starter Ashlyn Williams (Hattiesburg, Miss./Oak Grove HS). Grove (6-2) went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs – none of which were earned – on six hits. The junior walked four and struck out six; facing 28 batters on the night.
Offensively, Hollett and Pratt each picked up a pair of hits in the loss, while the Trojans garnered eight as a team against Idaho State starter Kandis Clesson.
The Trojans return to field again tomorrow morning against Bradley and Drake on day two of the Bayer CropScience Classic at Bulldog Diamond.