WKU blown out at home by Troy

Austin Lanter

Troy used four runs in the fifth and five runs in the seventh to defeat the WKU 11-3 Friday.

The first four innings proved to be a pitching duel between juniors Tanner Perkins of WKU (18-16, 8-5 Sun Belt Conference) and Tanner Hicks of Troy (24-9, 8-5 SBC). Perkins allowed one hit in the second inning, but then retired seven batters in a row for the Toppers.

“I thought Tanner Perkins was outstanding,” coach Matt Myers said. “That’s the one positive thing I can come out of here with. That’s two weeks in a row he’s thrown two really good starts. He’s feeling better. We didn’t play good enough behind him, but he gave us a chance to win.”

WKU, on the other hand, did not record its first hit off Hicks until the fourth inning, when senior first baseman Ryan Huck hit a single up the middle.

In the fifth, left fielder Josh McDorman of Troy hit a double to get things going for Troy. The next batter, designated hitter Matthew Howard, reached base on a single. Second baseman Jakob Nixon then stepped to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score one run and put Troy on the board.

The next batter reached base safely as well before Perkins recorded the first out of the inning. Then shortstop Tyler Vaughn hit a double off Perkins to score two more runs and make it 3-0

Two batters later, right fielder Danny Collins hit yet another double off Perkins, the third of the inning for Troy, to score another run.

All in all, the Trojans recorded five hits in the fifth inning, three of which were doubles, and scored four runs off Perkins.

“I missed some spots and that’s going to happen from time to time,” Perkins said. “Making plays behind me has never been an issue, so I ain’t worried about that. We’ll come out tomorrow and be fine.”

Perkins made it through one more inning before being replaced by sophomore Brennan Pearson. Overall, Perkins pitched six innings, allowed six hits, four runs (all earned), and recorded a season high seven strikeouts on over 100 pitches.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, WKU recorded two hits and had two base runners for the first time in the game. With runners on the corners and one out, Huck struck out and senior catcher Devin Kelly popped up to end the inning.

Troy would strike again with another double, this time off the bat of third baseman Logan Pierce, in the seventh. The hit would score Vaughn from first base to give Troy a 5-0 lead with one out.

Pearson only lasted a third of an inning before being replaced by freshman Josh Bartley.

Bartley forced his first batter to send a grounder to second but junior infielder Griffith Roark committed his first error of the season as Troy scored another run.

The next batter, Howard, sent the Bartley pitch over the left field wall for a three-run homer to give the Trojans a 9-0 lead. The home run was the first allowed by the freshman Bartley.

“They’ve got some good hitters mixed in there and some speed,” Perkins said. “It’s just like any other college team. you’ve just got to stay with your approach on the mound and keep the ball down on those guys.”

The Toppers would get on the board in the eighth inning courtesy of an RBI single by junior infielder Scott Wilcox that scored senior infielder Steve Hodgins. Later in the inning with the bases loaded and one out, Kelly hit a single through the gap to score two more runs and make the game 9-3.

Troy got two of those runs back in the ninth inning though off of freshman pitcher Jackson Sowell. Sowell walked his first batter and then allowed a two-run home run to first baseman Trae Santos to make the final score 11-3.

“We get through the heart of the order and we did a pretty good job,” Myers said. “…It’s the guys down at the bottom of the lineup that we didn’t take care of…You can’t give a team that’s hot…opportunities.”

Game two will be Saturday at 3 p.m. at Nick Denes Field. Junior Andrew Edwards will take the mound for WKU with junior Will Starling on the mound for the Trojans. Edwards is 3-1 this season with a 3.43 ERA while Starling is 4-3 with an ERA of nearly six.