May 31, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – A big five-run inning in the fourth was all the Troy Trojans needed as they got a solid start from Shane McCain and defeated Alabama 5-2 in the first game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional on Friday afternoon at Mike Martin Field in Dick Howser Stadium.
McCain (9-1) strung together 6.2 quality innings and allowed two runs with just one walk and six strikeouts. A big three-run home run by Troy’s Trae Santos and a two-run single from Ali Knowles highlighted a five-run fourth inning that gave the Trojans (41-18) a cushion and put less pressure on relievers Nate Hill and Tanner Hicks as they combined for 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Santos finished 1-for-4 with three key RBIs, while left fielder Josh McDorman went 2-for-3 with one run scored for Troy. Alabama catcher Brett Booth went 2-for-4 for the Crimson Tide (34-27), and starting pitcher Charley Sullivan (5-7) absorbed the loss after allowing five runs on six hits with one strikeout in 3.1 frames.
Troy’s first scoring chance came in the top of the second inning. With one out, Josh McDorman provided the game’s first base hit with a single to left field, then advanced to second base when Justin Hancock drew a walk. Alabama caught a break when Sullivan induced a double play off the bat of Troy’s Garrett Pitts to finish the frame scoreless.
Alabama’s Kenny Roberts delivered a one-out sacrifice fly to left field to plate Booth, who led off the third inning with a single to left field for the Crimson Tide’s first base hit. Helping put Booth in scoring position was a well-placed bunt single that snuck through the right side from Andrew Miller, allowing Booth to reach third base after the ball trickled to the shallow part of the outfield. Robert’s RBI gave Alabama a 1-0 lead.
For the 27th time this season, Troy recorded five runs in an inning when it opened the floodgates in the top of the fourth. The first five Trojans reached base, as Santos posted his 17th home run of the season on a three-run shot to left field to give Troy a 3-1 lead. Later in the inning, Knowles hit a two-run single up the middle to plate Justin Hancock and McDorman to extend the lead to 5-1.
Austen Smith attempted to help the Crimson Tide mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh when he hit a solo home run down the left field line to cut Alabama’s deficit to 5-2. The home run was Smith’s team-leading seventh of the season. After McCain left the game with two outs in the seventh and runners on first and second base, reliever Nate Hill entered the contest and struck out Alabama’s Georgie Salem, who was the tying run at the plate.
Hill came back to pitch an effective eighth inning, inducing a groundout, flyout and striking out Smith to finish the Crimson Tide in the frame. With one out remaining in the bottom of the ninth and the tying run at the plate for Alabama, Tanner Hicks came in and recorded a flyout to centerfield off the bat of Salem to end the game.
Troy will now face the winner of the Florida State-Savannah State contest on Saturday at 5 p.m. in a matchup that will air on ESPNU as well as ESPN3. Alabama faces the non-advancing team on Saturday at noon on ESPNU and ESPN3.