FRESNO, Calif. – The Troy University softball team used tough pitching and an offensive explosion to sweep Bradley and Drake on the second day of the Bayer CropScience Classic on Friday.
Troy (17-7) used the arm of Ashlyn Williams (Hattiesburg, Miss./Oak Grove HS) to post a 2-0 shutout of Bradley in the opener; while using three home runs in the second game to post 11 runs in the last two innings to run away with a 12-5 victory over Drake.
TROY 2, Bradley 0
Meeting for the third time in four weeks, the Trojans bounced back in the opening game on Friday in the Bayer CropScience Classic as they scored two times in the first inning against Bradley.
Freshman Kelly Luquette (St. Amant, La./St. Amant HS) led off the bottom of the first inning for the Trojans and reached on a fielding error by Bradley. She was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Smartt (Troy, Ala./Charles Henderson HS), scoring two batters later when junior Hayden Gann (Hoover, Ala./Hoover HS) blasted a two-run home run to left; give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.
The Trojans had another chance to score in the third inning when Luquette doubled to center and then reached third on a passed ball. However, she was unable to score as the next two batters in the lineup were retired.
Troy had another chance in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Nikki Hollett (Melbourne, Australia/Wesley College) singled to center with one out in the inning, but was unable to score as the next two batters were retired to end the inning.
The Braves had their chances against Troy (16-7) as they put runners in scoring position in the first, second, third, fifth and sixth – including placing runners at third base in the first and fifth innings. However, they were unable to capitalize off senior Ashlyn Williams (Hattiesburg, Miss./Oak Grove HS), who pitched her sixth complete game of the season.
Williams (5-3) went seven innings, allowing three hits – all to the same player – and six walks. She also struck out 15 – a new season-high – in the victory. It is the sixth time this season that Williams has struck out double-digit batters in just 11 appearances.
At the plate, four different players recorded a hit off of Bradley; with Gann providing the offensive power in the victory.
TROY 12, Drake 5
The Trojans scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to force extra innings, before running away with the game in the eighth with seven more runs.
Troy trailed 5-1 heading into the top of the seventh inning, with the inning starting off the bat of Randi Ashworth (Crosby, Texas/Tallahassee CC) with a single. It didn't long for pinch runner Callie Rawlinson (Auburn, Ala./Lee-Scott Academy) to score as Melissa Pratt (Tonganoxie, Kan./Highland CC) hit her first collegiate home run, a two-run shot to left to draw the Trojans to within two at 5-3. However, the inning did not end there as the Trojans scored twice more on a Hayden Gann (Hoover, Ala./Hoover HS) single to right to knot the score at 5-all.
After forcing extra innings, the Trojans exploded in the top of the eighth with seven runs highlighted by a three-run home run by Nikki Hollett (Melbourne, Australia/Wesley College) and a solo home run by Gann – as the two went back-to-back yet again this season.
The Trojans scored the go-ahead run after Michelle Hewett (Alford, Fla./Chipola JC) was sacrificed over to third. Pratt delivered again as she reached on a fielding error which scored Hewett and gave the Trojans a one-run advantage at 6-5. But the Trojans didn't stop there, as Kortney Cooper (Dothan, Ala./Northview HS) and Kelly Luquette (St. Amant, La./St. Amant HS) were walked to load bases. Freshman Taylor Smartt (Troy, Ala./Charles Henderson HS) drove home a pair with a single, before Hollett and Gann delivered the big blows.
The Trojans held Drake scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory.
Gann and Hewett each collected a pair of hits in the victory, while Hollett drove in four runs and Gann three runs in the victory. Both Pratt and Smartt drove in a pair each for the Trojans.
Ashlyn Williams (Hattiesburg, Miss./Oak Grove HS) picked up her second victory of the day as she went five innings in relief of starter Morgan Grove (Tampa, Fla./Tallahassee CC). Williams allowed three runs – none of which were earned – off of four hits. She also struck out six, while not allowing a base runner on via a walk in the victory.
The Trojans close out play in the Bayer CropScience Classic against nationally-ranked California and Fresno State on Saturday afternoon. Live stats will be provided for both games, with video being provided for the nightcap against Fresno State.