Late innings lift Troy past OK State
Trojans snap three-game tournament losing streak
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Troy's offensive explosion in the sixth and eight innings keyed a 9-2 victory against Oklahoma State in the opening game of the Nashville Regional.
With the win, the Trojans advance to face the winner of Vanderbilt-Belmont on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The victory also broke a three-game winless streak in regional play since 2006.
Troy starter Tyler Ray (12-0) gave up two runs early but got in his groove as he threw five consecutive scoreless innings. Ray went into the eighth inning for the eight time this season. He threw 95 pitches and struck out five in 7.2 innings of work while earning the victory.
The five strikeouts by the junior All-American moved him into a tie for seventh place on Troy's career list with James Wray with 184 punch outs. His 46th career start also moved the Hoover, Ala. native into a tie for third place all time with Donnie Elsberry.
Oklahoma State took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Luis Uribe to start the bottom of the second inning. Ray allowed the homer, but worked around a single to retire the side, including a swinging strike out for the third out in the second.
Devin Shines started the third inning with a double to the wall in right. He moved to third on a groundout before ultimately scoring on Zach Johnson's RBI single. The ball was popped up in shallow right field, but T.J. Rivera couldn't find it in the Sun. Tyson Workman, who was playing deep, was unable to get there in time and the ball dropped for a hit and a 2-0 Cowboys lead.
Adam Bryant led off the fourth inning with a single before making it all the way to third with just one out on a ground out and wild pitch. The senior came in to score on an infield single by Todd McRae to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Bryant again was the catalyst, starting the sixth inning with a double to the left field corner. Rivera followed up with an RBI single back up the middle to plate Bryant and tie the game. Shear then walked on four pitches, and McRae sacrificed to the pitcher to put the go-ahead run at third with just one out.
Bryant's double leaves him one shy of tying Jeff Javinet's Troy record of 56 doubles. The senior All-American finished the day 2-for-4 with three runs scored.
Hunter Herrera then intentionally walked Logan Pierce to face Hayden Hillyer. The redshirt freshman responded with an RBI single to left to give the Trojans a 3-2 lead. A bases loaded walk to Tyson Workman sent Shear home for a 4-2 lead.
Herrera (3-2) would end up taking the loss for the Cowboys after giving up four earned runs in 5.1 innings.
Tyler Hannah came up with a clutch hit in the top of the eighth with two down as he crushed a three-run triple to the wall in right to clear the bases and push Troy's lead to 7-2. The drive plated Pierce, Blake Martz and Workman.
The hit was Hannah's lone knock of the day, but perhaps the biggest of the afternoon. He finished with three RBIs to give him 52 for the year.
Troy sent nine men to the plate again in the eighth, this time thanks to a two-run double by Rivera that plated Hannah and Bryant for a 9-2 advantage.
A walk to Zach Johnson marked the first walk of the day for Ray. It also ended his day with two on and two out in the eighth.
Nate Hill entered with two on and induced a pop up to short by Cowboys catcher Jared Womack to end the threat. He then worked around a hit batter and a walk in the ninth to close out the victory.