Friday, March 30, 2012

Troy hosts ASU

Trojans at home for the first time in Sun Belt play, hosting Arkansas State. ASU is off to a nice 5-1 start in conference play, while Troy is 2-4. Interesting to note the pitching matchups, as Troy goes Tyler Ray-Ryan Brady-TBA, when Jimmy Hodgskin has been the Saturday guy. 


I didn't talk to any coaches, but talked to Tyler Hannah and Logan Pierce, and both felt like the Trojans need to be more aggressive in games instead of watching and waiting. 


The story below appears in Friday's print edition of the Dothan Eagle. It can be found on dothaneagle.com HERE.

BY DREW CHAMPLIN
dchamplin@dothaneagle.com

After a disappointing start to the first one-third of the season, Troy players are focused and hoping to finish off the final eight weekends of the regular season with more aggression.

That starts tonight, as Troy (12-11, 2-4 Sun Belt) host Arkansas State (15-10, 5-1) at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game of the three-game Sun Belt series is at 7 p.m. and televised on CSS, and Sunday’s game is at 1 p.m.

The Trojans have been impressive at times, winning easily over Alabama and East Carolina, but have some hiccups, including a series loss at home to Monmouth, Sun Belt series losses at Arkansas-Little Rock and South Alabama and Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at lowly Alabama State.

“We might have set too high of goals for this team with a lot of guys coming back,” Troy first baseman Logan Pierce said. “It hasn’t worked out our way, but what makes a team is how strong can you be in the second half.”

This is Troy’s first home Sun Belt series, and ASU is off to a hot start, as the Red Wolves are tied for first in the standings with South Alabama and Florida Atlantic. Troy players know that late runs can propel a team to the top. Last year, Florida International started off slow, but rallied late in the year to finish second in the SBC.

“That’s baseball,” shortstop Tyler Hannah said. “We could go on a run and win 10 games in a row of our own. Some games, we’ll come out and be aggressive and dominate the whole game and some, we’re kind of laying back and seeing what happens.”

Pierce leads the team with a .360 average, and he has a 14-game hit streak heading into the weekend.

“I’m seeing the ball real well,” Pierce said. “I feel like I’m not getting my best swings, but I’m finding a way to put the bat on ball. What I’m hoping I can do is get some better swings when our team needs some run production.”

Troy will start Tyler Ray (2-2, 3.27 ERA) on the mound tonight and Ryan Brady on Saturday. Sunday starters are yet to be determined.

ASU only has nine home runs this year, but outfielder Michael Faulkner is hitting .320 and is a perfect 20-for-20 on stolen base attempts.

The rotation is paced by Daniel Wright (1-2, 3.47) and Jacob Lee (3-1, 3.47).

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