Troy Baseball wins Sun Belt Title

With their 10-7 win over South Alabama on Sunday, the Troy Trojans clinched the 2011 Sun Belt Regular season championship.

With the victory Troy finished the regular season 40-16 and 21-9 in Sun Belt play. It's the second Sun Belt title for Troy (2006) and the third overall league title for head coach Bobby Pierce in his Troy tenure (Atlantic Sun – 2005).

"I said before the game that I was proud of the team regardless of how this team ended up," Pierce said. "As you saw in this game would tell you why I've been so proud of this team the whole year."

The championship is the 15th league title in program history.

Tyson Workman entered from the bullpen with no outs in the third inning and went the distance. He set new career highs for innings (7.0), strikeouts (6) and pitches (149). He improved to 5-3 this season.

"Why did we leave them in there so long? He was the guy we trusted to win a championship," Pierce said of Workman. "Bottom line. End of that question.

"He's a competitor. He comes to play and he was the guy we wanted at the end of the game."

Troy got on the board first with a run in the top of the second inning. Boone Shear continued his hot hitting in the series and ripped a double to left. He came around to score after Todd McRae's ground ball kicked off the glove of the USA shortstop for an error to give Troy a 1-0 lead.

Shear finished the game with three hits and an RBI. He was 7-for-9 at the plate for the series.

The Jags came back with a pair in the bottom of the frame, but the Trojans answered immediately in the top of the third with a home run to right field off the bat of Sun Belt Player of the Week Tyler Hannah to knot the game at two.

Tyson Workman entered out of the bullpen with no outs and two on in the third, but despite giving up a walk escaped unscathed. The junior from Pensacola tossed allowed five runs on eight hits in his career-best seven innings.

Troy got their first three hits off USA's Paris since the third inning to start the sixth and load the bases. Todd McRae made it four-straight hits and he drove in a pair with a single through the left side on a drawn in Jaguars infield. The hit gave Troy a 4-3 lead with no one out.

Logan Pierce was the next man up and his grounder to second base moved the runners into scoring position for the pinch-hitter Hayden Hillyer. The freshman deliver with a two-run single to right that scored Shear and McRae.

Hillyer stole second and moved to third on a bad throw by catcher Brent Tanner.  Workman followed with a walk, but Hannah grounded into a double play to end the inning with Troy leading 6-3.

The Trojans loaded the bases with two down in the seventh inning for Pierce, but the sophomore first baseman lined out sharply to shortstop thus ending the threat with Troy still up by three runs.

Workman walked two and hit a batter in the seventh as South Alabama loaded the bases and scored a run. The right-hander got a fly ball to center that was hauled in by Hillyer to escape with Troy still leading 6-4.

A pair of walks sandwiched a single by Workman to load the bases with no outs and Adam Bryant at the plate. Bryant blooped a single over the head of second baseman Hunt Griffith to plate two runs. With Rivera at the plate, a passed ball then a throwing error by Tanner allowed Hannah to score.

With Bryant at third, Drew Prichard popped out foul to the catcher, but Shear salvaged the inning with a solid single to left for his third hit and an RBI as he chased Bryant home for a 10-4 lead.

McRae and Bryant each finished with two RBI for the Trojans.

Troy allowed three runs in the ninth, but held on for the final margin. The victory improved Troy to 15-0 this season when scoring 10-plus runs.

The Men of Troy are in action next on Wednesday at 7 pm when they face eighth-seed UALR in the first round of the 2011 Sun Belt Conference championship in Monroe, La.