Friday, April 29, 2011

Jernigan picked by Giants

Troy receiver Jerrel Jernigan was drafted in the third round by the New York Giants Friday night.

I did get in touch with Jernigan briefly. HERE is the online story.

Also from the Sun Belt, FAU tight end Rob Housler went a few picks earlier to the Arizona Cardinals.

In baseball, Troy was leading FAU 6-3 in the fourth, but it was called off due to rain. It will resume at that point tomorrow at noon.

The problem there is that Tyler Ray will likely not be able to pitch any more, so some deep relievers will have to step up. Ryan Sorce will start the second game tomorrow, and Jimmy Hodgskin will pitch Sunday. Not sure if Shane McCain, who pitched into the 8th inning Tuesday at UAB, will be ready or not.

Baseball/draft updates

Troy has a big baseball series, traveling to second-place FAU for a three-game set. Troy could create some real distance in the Sun Belt race, or FAU could make it real interesting. HERE is what I wrote about the series.

The second and third round of the NFL Draft is tonight. My thoughts are that Jerrel Jernigan will get drafted tonight.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Orleans Bowl date/time set

Bowl Officials announced today that the eleventh annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be held on December 17th at 8 pm (CST) on ESPN in the Louisiana Superdome.

Bowl Chairman Ron Gardner expressed his enthusiasm for keeping the game on Saturday night, “We always enjoy when the date of our Bowl game allows fans and visitors to enjoy the entire experience of a New Orleans weekend with family and friends right before Christmas. We want everyone to be able to take advantage of what we have to offer as a City that thrives on hospitality and entertainment.”

***My thoughts are that Troy won't play in this bowl for the second straight year. The GoDaddy.com Bowl has the first pick among Sun Belt schools this year, and I'd look for them to pick Troy if the Trojans have at least 7-8 wins, which I think they will. But I wanted to share it because it's always a possibility.

Jernigan ready for big day




It could come today. It likely will come tomorrow. Troy record-setting receiver Jerrel Jernigan is set to get drafted by an NFL team. Maybe I'm bias from watching him play all these years at Troy and a couple of times at Eufaula High School, but I think he's going to do quite well in the league.

HERE is the story I wrote for the Thursday paper about Jernigan getting ready for the Draft, where all he's been, etc. I did speak with his high school coach Dan Klages for the story as well.

Round 1 is tonight. Rounds 2-3 are Friday and rounds 4-7 are Saturday.

Running back DuJuan Harris and defensive end Mario Addison also stand a chance to be drafted late.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Troy falls at UAB

Tough loss for the Trojans, who led most of the game, but lost to UAB 4-3 in Birmingham. UAB swept the two-game series.

Troy led 3-1 in the 8th, but gave up a 2-run homer in the 8th and a game-winning hit in the 9th.

Recap HERE and box score HERE.

Troy is at FAU this weekend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trojans ready for UAB, back in polls

A great weekend by the Trojans got them back in some polls.

Baseball America, who jumped on the Troy bandwagon pretty early, has the Trojans ranked at No. 22

The NCWBA has Troy at 30. PerfectGame has Troy at 19. In the ESPN/USA Coaches Poll, Troy is two spots out of the top 25 (if there was a top 30, Troy would be 27th).

On WarrenNolan.com, Troy's RPI is 33. The Trojans are AT UAB tonight. UAB beat Troy 8-1 last Tuesday in Troy, and the Blazers just took 2 of 3 against Rice.

So, this is a game between two mid-major teams who are playing well. UAB's RPI is 52, so if Troy can win this game on the road, I wonder if it'll get Troy back into the 20s.

FAU, where Troy plays another big conference series on the road this weekend, has an RPI of 46.

Troy stastically is below. Trojans are 30-10, 14-4.

TOP HITTERS
Ali Knowles (CF) .350, 1 HR, 16 RBI
Adam Bryant (SS), .345, 4 HR, 40 RBI, 8 SB
Tyler Hannah (3B), .324, 2 HR, 26 RBI
Drew Prichard (RH), .310, 2 HR, 16 RBI
T.J. Rivera (2B), .310, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 9 SB
Todd McRae (C), .289, 1 HR, 24 RBI
Logan Pierce (1B), .258, 3 HR, 36 RBI

TOP PITCHERS
Tyler Ray (9-0, 1.47 ERA)*
Drew Hull (4-0, 2.07) - injured
Tyson Workman (3-2, 3.22, 3 sv)
Nathan Hill (2-0, 2.96)
Ryan Sorce (5-3, 3.08)*
Jimmy Hodgskin (2-3, 3.67)*
Shane McCain (1-2, 3.96)**

*Weekend starter
**Starting pitcher tonight vs. UAB

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Troy completes sweep

Troy finished its sweep of Western Kentucky this weekend. Trojans went from their worst weekend of the year to their best with this sweep.

HERE is Ken Rogers' game story.

Troy is now 4 games ahead of WKU. The Trojans are 3 games ahead of FAU in first place, and the Trojans travel to FAU for a 3-game set next weekend.

Troy's RPI on WarrenNolan.com is now 32, which is good because it was in the 40s last week. The Trojans play at UAB Tuesday.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Troy wins Game 2

The bats seem to have come out of the slump, as Troy beat Western Kentucky 11-3 Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

The Trojans go for the sweep Sunday at 1 p.m., and our very own Ken Rogers will make the 5-minute drive from his house in Troy to cover it for us.

Troy got home runs from Tyler Hannah, Logan Pierce and Drew Prichard.. Troy made some lineup changes, with Ali Knowles hitting lineup, Hannah in the 2 spot and Adam Bryant hitting third.

Despite Knowles going just 1-for-5, I like that move. Knowles has been giving them some solid at-bats from the 9 hole, Hannah has been giving them solid at-bats from pretty much anywhere in the lineup and it gives Bryant (4-for-5, 3 RBIs) a better opportunity to drive in runs.

Troy's pitching has been outstanding against a good hitting team. Ryan Sorce pitched 7 strong, with 6 strikeouts, to get the win.

Box score HERE. Game recap HERE.

SUN BELT STANDINGS
1. Troy 13-4
2. FAU 11-6
3. WKU 10-7
T4. South Alabama 9-8
T4. UL-Lafayette 9-8
T4. FIU 9-8
T7. UALR 6-11
T7. Arkansas State 6-11
T7. Middle Tennessee 6-11
T7. UL-Monroe 6-11

Trojans win first game

Apologies for not getting this up sooner, but we were swamped with playoff action tonight. Had some upsets, as Class 5A No. 2 Rehobeth (Troy signees Hunter Skipper and Jake Harrell) lost to Tallassee. Skipper has been unable to pitch since March with an injury. Not TJ-related, but an injury. I still don't know if he'll be a big left-handed power bat or a big left-handed pitcher. Maybe both. Harrell will be in the mix for the starting catcher spot next year.

Meanwhile, another Troy signee in Jo-El Bennett led Houston Academy to a huge upset over No. 2 Wicksburg in Class 2A.

But Troy beat Western Kentucky in the first game. Recap HERE. Also, the box score is HERE.

Tyler Ray went the distance. He is now 9-0. But, his ERA "worsened" to a miniscule 1.47.

Game 2 is at 6 p.m. Saturday. I won't be able to make it, covering some high school game earlier, but Ken Rogers will be there for the series finale on Sunday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's a T-Ray Friday

I certainly stole that from Barry McKnight's twitter, but that's what it is today. Ace pitcher Tyler Ray will be charged with holding down a solid offensive club as Western Kentucky comes to Troy for a three-game set.

It's a crucial three-week stretch for the Trojans, who are a game ahead of the pack in first place in the Sun Belt at 11-4, but are struggling. Troy hosts WKU, travels to Florida Atlantic (tough place to play on the road, tough trip to make) and hosts UL-Lafayette (Trojans never beat them no matter how good or bad they are, and they're playing well of late).

But I did write THIS STORY on Ray, who sports an 8-0 record with a 1.28 ERA. He had a bit of a sophomore slump last year, but built some strength in his body and is pitching much better this season.

We're bombarded with high school playoffs tonight, but I hope to be at the Saturday night game. If not, and even if so, Ken Rogers will cover the Sunday game for us.

Some top hitters for WKU

Kes Carter - .388, 5 HR, 31 RBI
Matt Rice - .381, 8 HR, 45 RBI
Jared Andreoli - .357, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 12 SB
Logan Robbins - .347, 2 HR, 22 RBI

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Basketball recruiting update

So far this spring, Troy has signed three players.

***Breon Dixon, a 6-foot-8 power forward/center from Tift County High School in Tifton, Ga.

***Alan Jones, a 5-foot-11 guard from Southeastern Illinois CC

***Justin Wright, a 6-foot-6 wing forward from Pensacola Junior College.

There could be more in the future. Troy signed two in the fall (guards Emil Jones and Deonta Jethroe from the JUCO ranks)

On Wright, who is a built kid at 225 pounds, Maestri is excited about the way he plays the game.

"He's a super competitor," Maestri said. "He fits the dribble-drive and he plays as hard as all get-out. He's strong and athletic. It's farmer strong, the type that looks like he's been working in the fields all day with a plow."

I'll try to update tomorrow on what Maestri has to say about Jones and Dixon. I'd look for Troy to add at least another post player to this class.

He's got hops

Troy linebacker Kanorris Davis leaps over punter Will Goggans




For your viewing pleasure. Also, Troy beat Alabama A&M 8-0, as William Teal, Thomas Austin, Chris Fisher and Nick Ward combined on a 2-hit shutout. The RPI is 44 on WarrenNolan.com, a spot behind FIU (which Troy beat 2 out of 3).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Troy falls to UAB




Well, the Trojans are in a bit of a slump.

1 run in 27 innings is definitely that. Troy lost to UAB 8-1 Tuesday night.

The hitting couldn't get it done, but pitchers were wild and pitchers were making throwing errors.

It's good for this team to be playing Alabama A&M Wednesday night, as something like a 15-2 win would at least give the Trojans some momentum going into the weekend vs. a hot Western Kentucky team.

Trojans do need to pick it up, however, as WKU, @FAU and vs. ULL are the next three weekends. Won't be hard to go from 1st to middle of the pack in a hurry as those teams are starting to pick it up, while Troy is trying to figure out what's wrong.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trojan baseball back at home

After a rough week last week (1-3 in road games), Troy is back at home this week.

Troy plays UAB tonight and Alabama A&M tomorrow night, both games at 6. Western Kentucky, which trails Troy in the league by a game, visits this weekend.

Tonight's starting pitcher will be Shane McCain (1-1, 4.26 ERA). I suppose he'll go into the 6th or 7th if he's pitching well, then the Trojans will get into their normal top bullpen guys because this is a game Troy needs to win.

Tomorrow's starting pitcher will be William Teal (1-0, 4.50, 4 IP). He's a big guy who had Tommy John surgery last year and he's been brought back slowly. The sophomore's best days are ahead of him, but he's got a chance to be pretty good. Same deal with Chris Fisher, who I'd guess will throw some in relief. Tomorrow you could also see guys like A.J. Howard or Thomas Austin - guys who aren't high up the weekend bullpen rotation, but guys who need to throw.

UAB is 20-16 and just got swept by Memphis at home. Freshman LHP Chase Mallard (0-1, 2.08, 7 IP) will be UAB's starting pitcher.

I will be at the game tonight, and you can follow me on twitter @dothaneagletroy. Or you can post comments on the blog.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some pro notes

Troy had its Junior Pro Day earlier today. There's a couple of guys that have a chance to be NFL guys, but most of this class is filled with guys who are good college/Sun Belt football players but don't have the NFL intangibles.

***The top prospect is left tackle James Brown, who will likely be a guard at the next level. Brown, who is about 6-foot-4 and weighed in at 318, is a pretty good athlete and not just for an offensive lineman. Brown, according to strength and conditioning coach Richard Shaughnessy, ran a 5.25 and did 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and did a vertical jump of 29 (that's real good).

***The next guy is cornerback Jimmie Anderson, who ran in the 4.4 range. Anderson is very similar to former Trojan Elbert Mack, who is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and landed there as an undrafted free agent. He's got great skills and ability, but he's just not very big. He's got a chance, though.

***Kicker Michael Taylor wowed some folks. He knocked 8 in a row through the end zones and was really nailing the ball today, according to Shaughnessy.

***Some other guys did some good things. Punter Will Goggans had a good day. Defensive end Brandon Boudreaux did 39 reps of 225 pounds.

***Other notes include wide receiver Brett Moncrief (foot) and defensive tackle Sidell Corley being held out for medical reasons. Wide receiver Chip Reeves wasn't there, Shaughnessy said. Quarterback Jamie Hampton is battling a minor foot injury, but did 18 reps on the bench.

On to the guys who have a chance to get drafted soon...

***Defensive end Mario Addison is working out Wednesday for New England. A position coach from the Patriots is coming down.

***Jerrel Jernigan has been all over the place, notably Atlanta, San Diego and Cleveland. The Jets are coming to see him. It seems like Atlanta and San Diego are the top two places he's likely to end up, but we'll see.

***Running back DuJuan Harris (pictured, Jay Hare photo) has also worked out for Atlanta. Harris and Addison have a chance to be late-round draft picks.



***Wide receiver Jason Bruce, if the lockout ends, could get a free agent invite. But if the lockout does not end, teams won't be able to sign free agent deals.

Welcome to the new blog

I wanted to welcome everyone to the new blog format. The old blog hasn't gone anywhere and you can access it on the right side. Hopefully we can get the old posts flowing in here, but I'm not sure how that works.

You can leave comments on here. That's why I pushed so hard to change the format. The comments are still moderated and you have to register.

This is obviously still a work in progress, so bear with me as I continue to try to figure things out.

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Back to some real notes. HERE is the short story that ran in today's paper about coach Larry Blakeney being surprised and humbled by the field being named after him.

I talked to him about a few things. I started asking who all shined through spring practice. He's a huge fan of new safeties Brynden Trawick and Angelo Hadley, it seems. Trawick is a starter now. Hadley should play a lot.

They're counting on defensive tackle Emmanuel Dudley a lot, even though he missed spring with an ankle injury.

The progression of Kanorris Davis and Johnny Thompson at the nickel spot has really been good.

The future is bright for freshman quarterback Luke Barnes, but they hope that senior Jamie Hampton is well enough to serve as the backup so Barnes can redshirt and get some separation from starter Corey Robinson.

Troy's 2011 and 2012 schedules are complete. The 2013 has @Mississippi State and home vs. UAB as non-conference opponents. The scuttlebutt is that the athletic department is looking for an FCS opponent or two (not in the same year) that would bring a big crowd to come to Troy. I don't have any names.

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The baseball team is struggling right now, having now lost 2 of 3 to last-place Middle Tennessee. Sunday's loss was 4-0.

Can't really blame the loss of Drew Hull, who will have his Tommy John surgery next Thursday. Odd how a team went from getting 11 runs and 17 hits in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday to getting shutout twice in less than 24 hours.

Troy hosts UAB Tuesday at 6 p.m., a game I plan on being at. Alabama A&M comes to town Wednesday and Western Kentucky is in town this weekend.

The gap between Troy and the rest of the league has shrunk. Troy is 11-4 in league play. WKU and FAU are both 10-5. ULL and South Alabama are the next best teams at 8-7.

Here's the bad part, though. Troy's RPI has fallen down to 42, according to WarrenNolan.com, after losing 4 of the last 5. Losses to Middle Tennessee, who was above 200, really can hurt that. That RPI would still get Troy in a regional if it didn't win the tournament, but Troy doesn't have that many high-quality wins, so it can't afford many bad losses. Middle Tennessee (twice) was a bad loss.

The hope is that this is a typical midseason slump.