***ICYMI, HERE is a story that appeared in The Messenger earlier this week. It gives a small insight into the team’s recent success on the base paths. Troy wasn’t much of a threat stealing bases last season which led head coach Bobby Pierce to implement a new system. While he wouldn’t disclose many details of the program, he did say it involved the team being more of a distraction on the bases than anything else. At the time I wrote the article, Troy lead the league in stolen bases. Now they are behind only ULM.
Schedule: Friday – Troy vs. Hartford (6pm)
Saturday – Hartford vs. Southeastern Louisiana (1pm) / Troy vs. Hartford (6pm)
Sunday – Hartford vs. Southeastern Louisiana (10am) / Troy vs. Southeastern Louisiana (2pm)
Overview: Troy’s game with Samford on Tuesday was rained out. The Trojans are coming off a big series win over nationally ranked Southern Mississippi. The Trojans (8-3) lead the Sun Belt Conference in batting average (.322), triples (6) and slugging percentage (.539), are tied with the most doubles (30), rank second in stolen bases (18), RBIs (89) and home runs (12). Conversely, Troy is next to last in team ERA (4.15), have struck out the second fewest batters (89) and have surrendered the third most walks (45).
Hartford comes in 0-8 on the season with losses to Campbell (x4) and James Madison (x4). The team finished 16-40 last season with a 3-27 mark on the road. Trey Stover leads the Hawks at the plate batting .385 (10-26). Ryan Lukach (.267) has the team’s only home run one the season, so it doesn’t appears Hartford will pose much of a power threat. The Hawks have an astronomical team ERA of 9.91 and opponents are batting .341 against them.
Southeastern Louisiana is 8-4 on the season with victories over Tennessee-Martin (x3), BYU (x2), and Texas Southern (x3). The Lions have lost to LSU, Ole Miss (x2) and Tulane. RHP Jordan Hymel tossed a no-hitter in the team’s 9-0 win over Texas Southern on March 3. Harry Slate leads SELU at the dish batting .415 (17-41) with a .490 on-base percentage. Aaron Haag has knocked in 13 runs for the Lions while batting .317. As a team, SELU has a .264 batting average a but has struck out 81 times. The pitching staff, led by Sean Kennel (1-0, 1.74), has a 3.46 team ERA and has struck out 80 batters in 104 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .246 off of them.
What to Watch: Troy’s Peyton Fuller certainly earned another shot to take over the everyday duties at second base for the Trojans. The freshman finished the series against Southern Miss 5-for-9 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. Danny Collins also turned in a solid series batting 7-for-11 with a pair of homers and five RBIs. In doing so, Collins was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Injury Update: Troy outfielder Ali Knowles had a pin placed in his injured hand. He was not in uniform last weekend but is working to return in some capacity in the coming weeks. David Hall, who re-injured in foot against Alabama State has been allowed to do as much as he can in practice, but was still experiencing some pain prior to the series finale against Southern Mississippi.