Troy baseball ready for road trip - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Troy baseball ready for road trip

TROY, Ala. – A pair of NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago will meet in a pivotal non-conference series this weekend as Troy travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., for three games against No. 28 Southern Mississippi at Pete Taylor Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Troy (2-1) enters the series after taking two-of-three games from Central Michigan last weekend. Southern Mississippi (2-2) took two-of-three from Nicholls State at home last weekend and dropped a 2-1 decision at ULM Wednesday night.

All-American Tyler Ray (1-0, 1.50) will get the Friday night start for the Trojans. The senior right-hander enters the weekend having won an NCAA best 13 straight decisions. Ray also leads all active pitchers in the NCAA with 28 career victories and ranks 14th with 192 career strikeouts – Ray struck out eight in six innings in the opener last week and allowed just two hits and one earned run.

The Troy pitching staff struck out 37 batters over the opening weekend which was tops in the country among teams that played three games and the best per-game average (12.3) of any team in the NCAA. Five Trojan pitchers combined to strike out 16 batters in game two of the series with the Chippewas, it was just one strikeout behind the single-game school record set in 1961 and 2003.

Southern Mississippi will counter with senior right-hander Chase Horn (0-1, 5.79) in the opener Friday night. Horn will be looking to bounce back from a rough start against Nicholls State in which he allowed four runs – three earned – on 10 hits in 4.2 innings of work. Danny Collins and Logan Pierce led the offensive charge for the Trojans last weekend as they hit .462 and .471, respectively.

The Trojans found some power as they muscled five home runs out of the park; they didn't hit their fifth homer last year until game 14. All-American Tyler Hannah reached base in 60 percent of his plate appearances as he drew five walks, was hit by a pitch and belted out three hits.

Boone Shear provided the brunt of the Troy power as he belted a pair of home runs and a double, while Collins added two doubles and a home run. Shear's two long balls matched his home run total from a year ago. Freshman Jo-El Bennett reached base six times and finished the weekend with a .545 on-base percentage. Sophomore southpaw Jimmy Hodgskin (0-0, 10.38) will get the call for Troy in game two of the series. He struck out seven over 4.1 innings in his first appearance and had limited Central Michigan to just one hit and a pair of unearned runs through the first four innings last weekend. Freshman left-hander Jake Drehoff (1-0, 1.50) will start opposite Hodgskin.

Troy has not decided on its Sunday starter, while Southern Mississippi will send sophomore right-hander Boomer Scarborough (0-0, 2.25) to the bump. The backend of the Troy bullpen was nearly unhittable in the Central Michigan series. Tyson Workman struck out five and didn't allow a base runner as he picked up two saves in 2.2 innings of work, while Nate Hill was credited with two holds after five strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP in two innings and Thomas Austin picked up a pair of holds with two strikeouts over an inning of work in two outings.

All three games will be broadcast live on the Troy IMG Sports Network with the pregame show beginning 15 minutes prior to first pitch each day. The games will be broadcast locally on 94.7 FM and worldwide on TroyTrojans.com.

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