Story from Troy Athletics:
TROY, Ala. – It was an unforgettable night at Riddle-Pace Field on Friday, history was made, and the Trojans battled back from two runs on two separate occasions to win their 38th game of the season after defeating Appalachian State 7-5.
With the Trojans (38-17, 18-11) trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, one swing of the bat changed the game and made history in doing so. Shane Lewis hit his 27th home run of the season, which not only tied the game but gave him the record for most home runs in a single season in Troy baseball history.
“Over the past two, three weeks, pitchers have stayed away from the zone on me,” Lewis said. “I knew the home run was going to come, I knew a mistake was coming, and it was just being ready and prepared for that mistake, and thankfully I was able to put a good swing on it.”
The home run inspired the Trojan offense as they went on to take the lead shortly after when Donovan Whibbs went deep for his fifth home run of the season to give Troy a 3-2 lead and send the home fans into a frenzy.
Appalachian State (26-23, 15-13) quickly silenced the Troy crowd scoring three runs of their own in the top of the seventh immediately after Troy had taken the lead.
The Trojans didn’t stop fighting as they responded with four runs in the bottom of the eighth to claim the lead for good. Tremayne Cobb Jr. hit a triple off the right field wall, and a walk to Brooks Bryan, and a hit by a pitch to Clay Stearns, Troy was in business with the bases loaded. A patient at-bat from Kole Myers started the rally as he walked on six pitches to bring Troy within a run.
Down in the count 0-2, Ethan Kavanaghdelivered the big blow for the Trojans, singling up the middle to score two runs and give Troy the lead once again. Then, with the momentum swung, Troy added another after a wild pitch plated Myers for the Trojans’ seventh and final run.
Logan Ross had another solid start for the Trojans, keeping the game close all night long. Ross finished with a final line of 5.2 innings pitched, allowing two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts to match his career high.
After Ross departed, it was up to the bullpen to finish the game. Zach Fruit, Kristian Asbury, and Noah Manning all made an appearance in relief. Getting his fourth win of the season was Asbury (4-1) after striking out the side in the eighth inning. Then, for the Sun Belt leading 11th time this season, Manning came in and shut the door to earn the save and clinch the series victory for Troy.
Skylar Brooks (0-2) for Appalachian State is tagged with the loss after allowing the eventual game-winning run to cross home plate in the bottom of the eighth. Brooks threw 10 pitches and didn’t record an out. Starter Dante Chirico kept Troy off the scoreboard through five innings, only allowing four hits and walking one.
CJ Boyd had a four-hit night for the visitors with an RBI and two runs scored, while Xavier Moronta had three RBIs after hitting a home run.
Appalachian State didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard. For the second straight game, Boyd hit a solo home run to give the Mountaineers their first lead of the series.
Both teams threatened in the third inning as the first two runners reached with nobody out. But both Ross and Chirico were able to retire the next three batters without a run to score.
The second run for the visiting Mountaineers came in the top of the fifth after a leadoff double and a single from Golston Gillespie. Gillespie was left stranded on second as he was picked off to end the frame.
With the win, Troy moves up to 33 in RPI and maintains their third-place position in the Sun Belt Conference standings heading into the final game of the regular season.
The 2023 regular season will come to an end tomorrow at 2 p.m. as the Trojans and Mountaineers conclude the series on Saturday, May 20, at 2 p.m. from Riddle-Pace Field. Prior to the first pitch, Troy will recognize nine seniors for senior day.See a typo? Report it here.