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Trojans take SBC season title!
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Trojans1andAll Offline
2nd String

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I Root For: Troy
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Trojans take SBC season title!
From TroyTrojans.com


Dramatic Comeback Sparks Trojans To Sun Belt Title
Ricky Hazel


TROY, Ala. ? For seven innings Saturday afternoon the Troy offense was unable to produce against Middle Tennessee with the Sun Belt Conference championship, and top seed in next week?s league tournament, on the line.

All that changed in the eighth inning as the Trojans scored six times to rally for a 7-6 victory over the Blue Raiders to complete the weekend sweep and capture their second consecutive conference title.

"We struggled offensively all day, but this team never gives in," Troy coach Bobby Pierce said. "Good teams find a way and this team has been finding ways to win all year. I am proud of their effort, and proud of their refusal to lose."

Troy improved to 41-14 overall and 20-4 in the Sun Belt with the victory. MTSU falls to 27-24 overall and 10-13 in the conference. The Blue Raiders will be the sixth seed in next week?s tournament at Bowling Green, Ky.

Pierce has preached to his team all season that players should take advantage of their opportunities. Two of the least likely Trojans produced the game-winning play for Troy on Saturday.

After the Trojans took advantage of two Middle Tennessee errors to score four times, with a double-play grounder off the bat of Beau Brooks scoring Clint Robinson to cut the Blue Raiders? lead to 6-5.

Blake Green fell behind MTSU reliever Allan Woodward (2-2) on two quick sliders, but got a pitch he could handle, and homered to left, just past the reach of outfielder Adam Warren, to knot the score at 6-6.

Senior Dru Rymer drew a two-out walk and then took off from first on the first pitch to junior Kevin Weidlich, who had pinch hit for Ian Craze in the seventh inning. Weidlich, who had not played in a Sun Belt Conference game before Friday, dumped a single into shallow right and Rymer never slowed down rounding third.

The throw home from Marcus Taylor to MTSU catcher Michael McKenry was on the money, but Rymer slid around the tag to the back side of the plate with the winning run.

"With the score tied in that situation, and with us riding the momentum, we are always going to play that aggressively," Pierce said. "We told Kevin to only swing at the first pitch if he thought he could hit a double. We had Rymer running on the pitch, and Kevin got something to handle and put it into the perfect spot."

With the lead in hand, junior Josh Dew (4-1) retired the Blue Raiders in order in the ninth to secure the victory and set off a wild celebration on the infield at Riddle-Pace Field.

Middle Tennessee appeared to have the game in hand early after scoring five runs off Troy starter Tony Falls in the first three innings. Todd Martin had the big blow for Middle in its four-run second with a bases loaded double that plated three runs.

Junior left-hander Jonathan Sabat came on to pitch for Troy in the fourth, and shut down MTSU for three innings, allowing just one hit, before turning the game over to Dew for the seventh.

Dew surrendered what appeared to be an insurance run in the eighth thanks to a single by Jeff Beachum, a sacrifice bunt, a walk and a fielding error by Tom King.

Troy scored once in the fourth on singles by King and Dew, but left the bases loaded in the sixth without scoring.

King, Dew and Green had two hits each to lead Troy. King delivered his 32nd double of the season to tie the Sun Belt Conference season record. Beachum and Wayne Kendrick had two hits each for Middle Tennessee.

The Trojans will open play in the Sun Belt Tournament on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. against tournament host Western Kentucky. Middle Tennessee will face third-seeded South Alabama in the tournament?s first game, at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
05-21-2006 02:32 AM
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