TROY, Ala. – After playing on the road in the last 16 games, the Troy University softball team returns home this weekend by opening Sun Belt Conference play against ULM at the Trojans Softball Complex. The series will begin with a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 pm, and finishing on Sunday with a 1 pm first pitch scheduled.
Troy (17-9) is ranked, for the first time in recent memory, in this week's USA Today/NFCA Poll as they appear at 33 – tied with the likes of Kansas, Northwestern and USC Upstate. They have not played at home since hosting the Quality Inn Classic during the second week of the season, playing their 16 games in three different states and are coming off a 12-game road trip out West.
The Trojans and ULM have met 14 times previously in school history, with the Trojans holding a 12-2 advantage; including a 5-0 mark at home. The Trojans took two out of three last season from ULM in Monroe on their way to finishing as the runner-up in the Sun Belt Conference.
Senior Ashyln Williams enters the contest as the reigning Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week after her performance out West. The senior one-hit 11th-ranked California and allowed just three hits to Fresno State in back-to-back games last Saturday. She enters the contest with a 6-5 record this season and a 2.17 earned run average. She has thrown 74 1/3 innings, recording 111 strikeouts and slowing just 31 runs (23 earned).
Junior Morgan Grove has spelled Williams this season and has recorded a 6-2 record with a 2.39 earned run average. She has thrown 52 2/3 inning this season, including starting six contests for the Trojans.
Meanwhile, offensively, junior Nikki Hollett is atop almost all of the major offensive categories in the Sun Belt Conference. The junior leads the conference in home runs (15) and hits (42), and is second in batting average (.447). She has continued to climb the career and single-season charts at Troy this season, as she is second in home runs during her career (28) and is currently second on the single-season list in home runs with her performance this season.
Junior Hayden Gann hits behind Hollett in the order and has posted a .391 average this season, and is among the league leaders in home runs with seven this season. She has also posted five doubles and driven in 24 runs this season. She and Hollett have gone back-to-back five times this season, including last week at the Bayer CropScience Classic in Fresno.
This weekend's matchup will feature the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year in Williams against the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Brianna Love of ULM (12-12, 1-2 Sun Belt). Love is hitting .324 this season with five home runs and 14 runs batted in. She has also recorded four doubles, three triples and stolen 12 bases.
The weekend has been labeled as "Parent's Weekend" on the Troy campus, and the parents of this year's team will be recognized prior to the opening game of the series.
Live stats and live video will be provided by the Troy University Athletics Media Relations Office for all three games this weekend.