Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 2: Troy Baseball Player Blogs

Senior Shortstop Adam Bryant

It’s said that good pitching beats good hitting and that’s exactly what the Trojans' starting pitchers, as well as the bullpen, did for 27 innings of baseball this weekend at Riddle-Pace Field.

Winning the series against a good Southern Miss team in a great confidence-building weekend will hopefully open our eyes to the guys on the team so that we understand how good we can be.

Competing is the word that comes to my mind when thinking about how you win big games, and that’s exactly what we did this weekend. From the first pitch on, our pitching staff carried the load for all three games.

Tyler Ray had his classic Friday night start, holding a good Southern Miss lineup down to give us a chance to win. Tyler is a guy that’s always fun to play behind because of the way he competes and how fast he works. Sometimes it feels like as soon as we get settled in at our positions we find ourselves running off the field putting on our helmets getting ready to hit.

After Tyler’s stellar performance for more than seven innings, Garrett McHenry came in and slammed the door to secure the win. Garrett is one of the hardest working guys on the team and has been lights out so far this year.

After Friday's win, we found ourselves down Saturday and never could get anything going offensively. You have to credit their pitcher because he did a great job to hold us to only one run.

Ryan Sorce, aka “Rydawg”, was our starter and he threw a great game as well. You hate to see him take the loss after the game he pitched. I have been playing alongside Ryan since I was 15 years old and, wow, have I seen him throw some amazing games.

Shane McCain, who also pitched Saturday, came in and stopped the bleeding to give us a great chance to come back, but we failed to do so. It was Shane’s second very solid performance this year and he will definitely be a key part of our bullpen as the season plays out.

With the series tied 1-1 going into “Championship Sunday”, we came to the park hungry and ready to win a series against a good team. Drew Hull started the game on the bump and hurled an outstanding game. Drew has some of the best stuff on the club and has the experience to back it up.

His first two starts have been great and it seems like he has settled into the role as a starter well. It’s awesome standing at shortstop, peering into Todd McRae’s signs when the count is 3-2, and seeing him giving Drew the sign for a curveball, knowing he is comfortable and confident at throwing any pitch in any count.

Offensively, it was a team effort this weekend and pretty much everyone in the lineup came up with a big hit or key at bat. Hayden Hillyer, aka “Switchblade”, captured his first career hit as a Trojan, which was exciting to see. Hayden is a great athlete and he will be a thrill to watch for the next four years.

With all that being said, we can’t thank the Troy community and students enough for showing up at all three games. It makes the atmosphere at Riddle-Pace an exciting place to play and really gives the Trojans an advantage.

We will refuel, go over the weekend, see what we did well and also what we need to improve on and get ready to play an always solid Samford team on Tuesday night in Birmingham.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Senior Catcher Todd McRae

It was another good weekend for the Trojans. We won the series against a good Southern Miss team.

Friday's win can be credited to the pregame meal. We had a choice of two different pasta dishes and that really hit the spot. Saturday we went back to the usual PB and J, and that just threw us off.

Championship Sunday was another usual meal, but the one thing that sparked our performance was the warm-up sprint to the fence by Blake Martz. He ran a record 9.8 seconds to the fence and back. That set the pace for the day, and fueled our offense to win the series.

Thanks again to the great fan support this weekend also, we appreciate all the cheering and getting in the opposing teams' dome.

Junior Pitcher Tyler Ray (@troytrojan12)

Another step closer to Omaha -- this weekend was just that. Winning a series against a Southern Mississippi team that was there only two years ago is a gain of momentum to where we are trying to go. We couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere at Riddle-Pace Field for one of the highest anticipated weekend match-ups of the season.

This weekend exemplified what college baseball is all about. Two very similar, highly respected baseball programs that are evenly matched in an early season non-conference match-up. You had your close Friday night win; your hard fought, couldn’t really get anything going, tough loss Saturday game; and then ... Championship Sunday.

Sunday is the most important day of the week for Troy baseball. It is something you don’t understand at first as a newcomer. It took me a solid year and half to realize how crucial Sundays are. They either sweep a series, avoid a sweep, or clinch a series win.

The great championship caliber teams play their best game on Sunday, regardless of who the opponent is. That is exactly what we did. There is nothing better than winning on Sunday afternoon, listening to “That’s what I love about Sundays...” as proud Troy fans exit the stadium, waiting for Coach Smartt to praise the significance of the win.

We are going to be a very hard team to beat at home if we continue to have the support we have had for the first two weekends. A couple more weekends of the lively atmosphere provided at Riddle-Pace so far this year, will create a fear for all of the other incoming opponents that have to make the trip to play the Troy Trojans.

Every time I take the mound on a Friday night and look up and see the seats full of Trojan fans, I already believe the Trojans are up 1-0.

We have a very challenging week ahead. We have our first road trip this week against an in-state rival Samford on Tuesday, which always ends up being a competitive game. Then, we are back at home against yet another great opponent, Southeast Missouri. We need all the same support as we have received so far this year to make this road to Omaha come true.

"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:25

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