Monday, February 28, 2011

Looking at the Baseball Polls, Week 2

E-mail Ricky Hazel

The second full week of the 2011 college baseball season is in the books and it was another good weekend for the Trojans. Beating a team that has advanced to NCAA Regional play for eight straight years, including the College World Series in 2009, merits a spot in the national polls if you ask me.

Unfortunately, not enough voters in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll agreed, so the Trojans didn't crack the top 30 this week.

Here is a look at how I voted, along with some comments, followed by the actual top 30. You can find the poll each week at the NCBWA web site. Other college baseball polls include Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.

Also, check out for an unofficial look at the college baseball RPI.

Hazel's Top 30 - February 28
1. South Carolina (6-0)
2. Vanderbilt (7-1) - took two of three from Stanford
3. Florida (7-0)
4. Oklahoma (9-0)
5. Florida State (7-0)
6. Virginia (6-1)
7. UCLA (5-2) - lost twice to Long Beach State
8. Clemson (5-1)
9. Texas A&M (6-1)
10. Arizona State (6-1)
11. California (5-1)
12. College of Charleston (7-0)
13. Arizona (5-1)
14. TCU (4-3) - former No. 1 lost twice
15. Texas (5-3)
16. Stanford (4-3)
17. LSU (7-0)
18. Auburn (5-2)
19. Rice (5-3) - bounced back from rough start
20. Troy (6-1)
21. Cal State Fullerton (4-3)
22. Arkansas (6-0)
23. North Carolina (6-1)
24. UC Irvine (7-0)
25. Fresno State (6-0)
26. Wichita State (7-0)
27. Duke (7-1)
28. Charlotte (7-1)
29. New Mexico State (8-0)
30. Southern Miss (6-2)

Here is how the poll turned out.

No School Record Pvs
1 Florida 7-0 2
2 Vanderbilt 7-1 3
3 Oklahoma 9-0 4
4 South Carolina 6-0 6
5 Florida State 7-0 8
6 UCLA 5-2 1
7 Arizona State 6-1 9
8 Virginia 6-1 10
9 Clemson 5-1 11
10 TCU 4-3 5
11 LSU 7-0 14
12 Texas 5-3 7
13 Texas A&M 6-1 13
14 Cal State Fullerton 4-3 15
15 Stanford 4-3 12
16 Arkansas 6-0 20
17 Rice 5-3 18
18 North Carolina 6-1 21
19 College of Charleston 7-0 25
20 Oregon 4-3 19
21 UC Irvine 7-0 26
22 Arizona 5-1 23
23 Louisville 4-2 16
24 California 5-1 30
25 Auburn 5-2 27
26 Miami (Fla.) 4-3 22
27 Coastal Carolina 4-4 17
28 Georgia Tech 5-3 24
29 Fresno State 6-0 NR
30 Wichita State 7-0 NR

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically): Alabama (4-3), Baylor (4-3), Charlotte (7-1), Connecticut (2-4), Creighton (7-1), Duke (7-1), East Carolina (4-2), Georgia State (7-1), James Madison (7-1), Kansas State (5-2), Loyola Marymount (7-1), Mercer (8-2), New Mexico State (8-0), Ole Miss (7-1), Oregon State (4-3), San Jose State (6-1), Southeast Missouri State (5-2), Southeastern Louisiana (6-1), Southern Miss (6-2), Stetson (5-0), Texas Tech (7-1), Troy (6-1), UCF (6-1), Virginia Tech (6-2), Washington State (4-1).

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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It Has Been a Quick Four Years for Bryant

Well, seems like it was yesterday I was walking in to my first baseball meeting not knowing what to expect. Having 50 other players watching me walk in and grab a seat was a little intimidating but, little did I know, those guys and the ones in the future would be some of the best friends I could ever make.

Four years later I find myself with a lot more experience than I had when I was a freshman, but I am still searching for a championship ring and a regional berth.

Coming into this year, I don’t think anyone knew what to expect with all of the new faces that filled the locker room. Although we have a lot of new guys, it feels like we have been playing with each other forever because of the way we all “click”.

Between putting in the extra work in the weight room and dedicating our time and focus on the field, I feel anxious to see where we end up at the end of the season.

This past opening weekend was one of the most exciting for me just seeing how it played out with all the new guys. Tyler Hannah, aka “boosie boo”, aka “mongoose”, had an awesome weekend making web gems at third and tearing it up at the plate.

Blake Martz, aka “King Kong”, had a career weekend at the plate, which he is so capable of doing every weekend. Daniel Peterson continues to amaze everyone with his jaw dropping plays roaming centerfield.

All of our starting pitchers as well as the bullpen were tremendous this past weekend for the Trojans. They were lights out. I could name everyone that had awesome outings but I would be here all day.

By far the most exciting part of the weekend for me, besides the sweep, was seeing Ali Knowles, aka “Island Boi”, and Kyle Brown, aka “Big Country”, get their first college hits. Nothing is better than seeing underclassmen having early success in their careers and knowing they are going to be the future for Troy baseball.

So, after a good four-game sweep over a solid High Point team, we find ourselves facing a good test in an always impressive Southern Miss opponent. Just like last weekend, we hope the Troy community and students continue to come out and support the Trojans as we take on a tough task of defending Riddle-Pace for a three game series this weekend. -- Shortstop Adam Bryant

" I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength" Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Freshman Jimmy Hodgskin Shares His Thoughts

Just got done with a sweep of High Point University this weekend and it was awesome. My first college game experience couldn't have been better. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the team chemistry.

Since the first pitch of the season we have really given it everything we have. Our team has put in more work than any other team in the country and now we just have to let it show. Our offense was unstoppable the whole series and our pitchers dominated.

My first college outing was not perfect like I hoped, but we won the game and that's all that matters. My team picked me up and we put High Point away to complete the sweep.

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us. I can't wait for next weekend.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Week One of the NCBWA Baseball Poll

E-mail Ricky Hazel

As a voting member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's weekly baseball poll, each Monday I have to submit my vote for the top 30 teams in the land. The actual poll should be announced late this afternoon. Here is how I voted this week with a few comments.

1. South Carolina (3-0) - "To be the man, you have to beat the man!"
2. UCLA (3-0)
3. Vanderbilt (4-0) - impressive with four wins in southern California
4. Florida (3-0)
5. Oklahoma (4-0)
6. TCU (2-1) - preseason #1 dropped one to Kansas
7. Virginia (3-0) - put on a show in Auburn.
8. Texas (2-1) - lost one to Maryland
9. Florida State (3-0)
10. Texas A&M (3-0)
11. Clemson (2-1)
12. Stanford (2-1) - took two from tough Rice team
13. Arizona (3-0)
14. Coastal Carolina (3-1) - survived marathon loss to Indiana to beat Virginia Tech
15. Arizona State (3-0)
16. Florida Atlantic (3-0)
17. Auburn (2-1) - only loss was to UVA
18. Rice (1-2) - see No. 12
19. California (2-0)
20. College of Charleston (3-0)
21. LSU (3-0) - big sweep of Wake Forest
22. Louisville (3-0) - perfect vs. Big Ten
23. Miami, Fla. (2-1)
24. Southern Miss (3-0) - next up for the Trojans
25. Arkansas (3-0)
26. North Carolina (4-0)
27. Troy (4-0)
28. Oregon (1-2) - down from 8 after dropping two at Hawai'i
29. Cal State Fullerton (1-2) - down from 12 after losing two to Long Beach State
30. St. John's (2-1)

You can check out the poll at the NCBWA web site.

Here is how the voting turned out.

No School Record Pvs
1 UCLA 3-0 2
2 Florida 3-0 3
3 Vanderbilt 4-0 4
4 Oklahoma 4-0 5
5 TCU 2-1 1
6 South Carolina 3-0 8
7 Texas 3-1 6
8 Florida State 3-0 10
9 Arizona State 3-0 11
10 Virginia 3-0 13
11 Clemson 2-1 7
12 Stanford 2-1 14
13 Texas A&M 3-0 16
14 LSU 3-0 19
15 Cal State Fullerton 1-2 9
16 Louisville 3-0 22
17 Coastal Carolina 3-1 18
18 Rice 1-2 15
19 Oregon 1-2 12
20 Arkansas 3-0 24
21 North Carolina 4-0 29
22 Miami (Fla.) 2-1 20
23 Arizona 3-0 25
24 Georgia Tech 2-1 21
25 College of Charleston 3-0 26
26 UC Irvine 3-0 27
27 Auburn 2-1 23
28 Connecticut 1-2 17
29 Alabama 3-0 28
30 California 2-0 30

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically): Baylor (2-1), Bethune-Cookman (3-0), Charlotte (4-0), East Carolina (3-0), Florida Atlantic (3-0), Fresno State (2-0), Hawai’i (2-1), James Madison (4-0), Kansas State (3-0), Long Beach State (1-1), Mercer (3-1), Ole Miss (3-0), Oregon State (2-1), San Diego (1-3), Southeast Missouri State (2-1), Southeastern Louisiana (2-1), Southern Miss (3-0), St. John’s (2-1), Troy, (4-0), Tulane (2-1), UCF (3-0), Virginia Tech (2-1), Wichita State (3-0).

First Round of Baseball Player Blogs

We are going to have several members of the baseball team write short blogs during the 2011 season. The first two installments start now.

Great First Weekend

We had a great first weekend, it was definitely a team sweep. Everyone was involved in every win somehow. To be so early in the year, our team chemistry is really amazing, and that is a very important factor in the outcome of games. We are taught to be all in, all the time, and we definitely are coming together as a team and striving to do just that. Big thanks to all the Trojan fans that came out this weekend, ya'll were awesome. -- senior catcher Todd McRae

Opening Weekend Shows Trojans' Mentality

“Hate to lose. Expect to win.” That is a phrase that I was taught as a high school baseball player at Hoover. When all 20+ players on the 2008 state championship team truly came together and played with that mentality, it was something very unforgettable.

For the first time in my career at Troy, I feel surrounded by team mates with all the same mentality.

When we go to Omaha this year, I’m going to look back at the 2010 Sun Belt Tournament and say that is where it all began. Ending the 2010 season with a loss to FIU in the conference tournament last year, after an incredible late run, couldn’t possibly have created a more starving bunch of young men to set a goal and achieve it.

After realizing how close we were last year and seeing what kind of run we could make when we truly expected to win and hated to lose, we know our goal for Omaha is very reachable.

I’ve never been a part of a harder working team than this year. The fact that we know, as a team, that we are going to out-work every opponent we play is going to lead to a very special season. We will go through our ups and downs, just like any other team in the nation, but we will never, at any point in the season, get distracted from our trip to Omaha.

Starting off the season against High Point in front of a great home crowd was a perfect way to start to our 2011 season. As the opening day starter, the 17 runs on a Friday night start was very appreciated too. Thank you Blake Martz for a career night, Tyler Hannah for a great division one debut, and Adam Bryant for well… just your basic “All-American Adam Bryant performance“.

Finishing the four game sweep against a good High Point team was that sense of picking right back up where we left off last May. This upcoming weekend with Southern Miss is one we have had circled on the schedule from the beginning. It will be a great test for us and we look forward it. It is going to be an exciting atmosphere in Troy, Alabama. Cant wait! (Bart Scott style.)

Remember to follow me on twitter @troytrojan12. Also follow coach Mark Smartt (@CoachMarkSmartt), coach Eric House (@CoachHouse20) and coach Brad Phillips (@BPhillips8635). -- junior pitcher Tyler Ray #12

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." 2 Chronicles 15:7

Expect to hear from All-American shortstop Adam Bryant and freshman pitcher Jimmy Hodgskin this week as well.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Coach Mark Smartt

Those two words, Opening Day, mean many things to different people in the world of athletics and in particular to the game of baseball. For many, Opening Day relates to the Major Leagues which always has a great amount of pomp and circumstance on each team's opening game of the season. In fact, several years ago MLB began a stand-alone game on Opening night the Sunday before the season which kicks off the baseball season. Three years ago, the NCAA announced baseball would have a common start date, which has quickly grabbed momentum into a exciting national Opening Day for the Division I college baseball season.

For me as a coach and for many coaches, Opening Day brings about a great deal of excitement along with many other thoughts. First and foremost, our program has more of a traditional setting for Opening Day where both teams are announced and align themselves on the baselines for the National Anthem. Then we have someone "open the season" with a traditional first pitch. Our tradition here at Troy is to have a local baseball team from the area that accomplished something special the year before throw out our first pitch. This year will be no different as one of our local teams will be on hand to help us start the season.

Leading up to the first game of any season is a hectic time for coaches. The facility must be game ready with all things properly working. That takes a tremendous effort from many people, both from the athletic department and the physical plant department. This year, fans will be welcomed with fresh paint in many areas of the stadium, new advertisement signs on the scoreboard and right field wall, and a brand new tailgate terrace area to enjoy the games in left field. We hope all our fans appreciate the facility and enjoy the improvements during the season.

And yes, all coaches have to prepare their team for the beginning of the season. All the practices, scrimmage games and weight room work that began in late August will be put to the test this weekend. A college baseball team has the longest period of preparation from the beginning of the school year to the first pitch of any sport and there's no question that the players are ready to play. What most coaches will say at this point is we need to play another team to learn more about our own team. We are no different at this stage of the year, our team needs to be challenged so that we can learn more about the areas we need to focus on and improve. Everyone involved with our program can't wait to get it started and it will be here Friday!

Opening Day is a great time of year and we expect great weather, great crowds and some exciting baseball at Riddle-Pace Field this weekend. I hope you will make plans to join the other Trojan fans and come see the 2011 Trojans open the season this weekend.

Go Trojans!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lil' Bit of Everything

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 8:45 PM
Travis Jarome (email)

It is hard to believe that the basketball season is about to come to a close in a matter of days. The Trojans play their final two home games of the season this week at Sartain Hall, taking on Middle Tennessee on Thursday and Arkansas State on Saturday.

Thursday night is WBCA Pink Zone night and is a time to spread awareness of breast cancer and help raise funds for research. Then, on Saturday, the Trojans will say goodbye to one of their all-time greats in Donette McNair as she plays her final home game of her career.

This season, I have had the pleasure of watching another member of the Trojans' squad join the 1,000-point club - the fourth time in four years I have had that honor. I have seen the school's Division I rebounding record fall, courtesy of McNair. And I have also seen the Trojans hold two different opponents to 13 or fewer points in the first half at home, setting school records.

With all that said, this weekend poses a different challenge as I have my two main sports going at the same time at home - and of course, on Saturday they play at the same time.

The Troy softball team opens up their home portion of the schedule as they host the Quality Inn Classic beginning with the first game at 1:30 pm on Friday afternoon and running through early Sunday evening. The Trojans enter the tournament with a record of 3-2 overall, with their two losses to 41st-ranked Auburn and third-ranked Alabama at the Easton/Hibbett All-Alabama Classic last weekend.

Speaking of last weekend, the Trojans racked up eight homeruns in five games and recorded two shutouts on the weekend. I witnessed yet another record fall as Ashlyn Williams recorded her 18th career shutout, defeating UAB. I also saw three back-to-back home runs hit by the Trojans - twice in one game.

It has been a whirlwind the last two weeks, but if you want to see women's college athletics at its best, there is no time like the present as it all starts on Thursday night with the basketball game, continues with softball on Friday, both on Saturday and softball on Sunday.

For more information, make sure to visit for all of the updated schedules.

Blakeney and Robinson Take Columbus

E-mail Ricky Hazel

Troy University football coach Larry Blakeney and quarterback Corey Robinson took part in the 56th annual Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards Banquet on February 5.

The Club gives out a number of awards each year including the Sammy Baugh Quarterback Award, the Chic Harley College Football Player of the Year Award, the Archie Griffin Award to the college football Most Valuable Player and several others.

Some of the biggest names in college football history have been honored at their annual banquet.

Coach Blakeney attended with Corey, who was named as one of the top 12 "Players to Watch" for the 2011 season.

Corey told me that he got to meet Kellen Moore from Boise State, Colin Kaepernick from Nevada and Andrew Luck from Stanford, among others.

For Coach Blakeney, the trip to Ohio was just the first trip of the week. After returning to Troy for a couple of days he took the entire family on a ski trip to Utah for some much deserved rest and relaxation.

Things will continue to be busy for Coach Blakeney and the entire Troy football family for the next month. The team will open spring practice on Feb. 23 and will have six practices before spring break, including a scrimmage on March 3.

Following the break, the team will get back to work on March 14 and have nine more practice sessions, including a pair of scrimmages. The team will scrimmage in Phenix City on Saturday, March 18, and will conclude spring drills with the annual T-Day game on March 26.

Things won't slow much during the first weeks of April. On the 16th the Troy University Board of Trustees will host the Larry Blakeney Appreciation Roast to celebrate his 20 years at Troy University.

The event will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery and will start with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Roast, which will start at 6:30 p.m.

There are several ways in which Troy fans and friends can get involved in what promises to be a memorable evening. Here is a list of the levels and what each includes.

  • Platinum Contributor ($10,000) - Receives program recognition as well as two reserved tables (10 seats each) for the reception, dinner and roast.
  • Gold Contributor ($5,000) - Receives program recognition as well as one reserved table (10 seats) for the reception, dinner and roast.
  • Silver Contributor ($2,500) - Receives program recognition and six tickets for the reception, dinner and roast.
  • Bronze Contributor ($1,500) - Receives program recognition as well as four tickets for the reception, dinner and roast.
  • Reserved Table ($1,000) - Receives 10 seats for the reception, dinner and roast.
  • Individual Benefactor ($50) - Receives one ticket for the reception, dinner and roast.
For more information on the event, call 334-241-9502 or 334-670-3608.

On Monday, April 18, Coach Blakeney will host the annual Larry Blakeney Golf Tournament. Look for more information on that event in the coming weeks or call 334-670-3689 for information.

Finally on the football front, March 1 is the day when the Sun Belt Conference will announce the 2011 football schedules. We have until then to come up with a slogan for the 2011 season to follow the "Drive for Five" in 2010. The first suggestion I heard was "Repeat Three-peat" but I am sure that there are some other great ideas floating around out there.

Email me and let me know if you have an idea for the 2011 slogan.

Baseball Season is Here!

E-mail Ricky Hazel

In just two short days the Troy Trojans baseball team will take to the turf at Riddle-Pace Field for the 2011 season opener against High Point.

Mother Nature has cooperated in a big way this year. The weather has been beautiful all week and promises to remain so for the weekend series. There are no excuses for not coming out for some games this weekend.

Speaking of games, this weekend is the busiest of the year for Troy Athletics with home basketball, softball and baseball games all weekend. In addition, the tennis teams will be in action on the road and the men's golf team will open its spring schedule in Mobile.

But, as for the home events this weekend, the basketball teams kick things off on Thursday night with the first of two double-headers in Sun Belt Conference play. The Blue Raiders of MTSU come in on Thursday, which is "Think Pink" night for the women's game to raise awareness and money in the fight against breast cancer. In addition to the game, there will be an iPad given away at halftime of the women's game.

On Friday, Troy softball will open the Quality Inn Classic at the Trojan Softball Complex. The tournament will include 11 games with Samford, Central Arkansas, Bradley and North Florida joining Troy in the event. Games start at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. The event also marks the debut on a new scoreboard at the Trojans Softball Complex.

Of course, Friday night will be the season-opener for the Troy baseball team. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m. Saturday's double-header will start at 1 .m. as will Sunday's series finale.

In addition to the baseball and softball games on Saturday, the Troy basketball teams will play their final home games of the 2010-11 season in a double-header that will start at 5:15 p.m. It will be senior night as the Trojans take on Arkansas State.


The Troy Athletics marketing department has put together some solid promotions for this season. All Friday games will Autograph Friday, with the first 30 kids under the age of 13 receiving a poster autographed by the Trojans' seven seniors. Saturday's are Daddy's Day Out with the purchase of one full price ticket for dad allowing him to buy up to four general admission tickets for the kids for just $2 each.

Sunday's will mark the return of "Slide Into Sunday" with all church bulletins presented from that morning's services getting one free ticket. If you bring a canned food item for donation you will receive a free box of popcorn. Also, kids can run the bases after the game.

Tuesday games during the year are All-American Night. Kids dressed in their own uniforms will have a chance to run onto the field to stand with a favorite Troy player for the national anthem.

Baseball on Television

The Troy baseball team will make as many as seven appearances on television during the 2011 season. The game against Auburn on April 5 will be televised regionally by IMG College. Information on affiliates for that game will be announced later.

That same week the Trojans will make their only scheduled appearance on the Sun Belt Game of the Week when they host FIU. The Saturday game will be televised on CSS and CST and will start at 7 p.m. instead of the normal 6 p.m.

Finally, the five other Tuesday games during the season are scheduled to be televised by Troy TV, which is available all over Southeast Alabama.

More Blogging

In addition to the occasional blogs from myself and assistant coach Mark Smartt during the 2011 season, four members of the Troy team will offer their insights and behind the scenes looks at the Trojans.

Seniors Adam Bryant and Todd McRae along with junior pitcher Tyler Ray and freshman hurler Jimmy Hodgskin will join the blog world for the season. If you have questions you'd like to see them answer, pass them along to me at the address above and I'll see what kind of responses we get.

If you want to get a preview of the 2011 season from and outside source, visit College Baseball Insider for their preview of the Sun Belt. Of course there are many other good college baseball web sites to keep you informed. Two that I check regularly are College Baseball Lineup and

As a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, I have a vote each week in the top 30 poll. The preseason poll was announced a couple of weeks ago and the first regular season poll will come out early next week. I'll blog each week to let you know how I voted.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SIGNING DAY: Taking a Deep Breath

SIGNING DAY: Taking a Deep Breath
Taylor Bryan

Did you hear that?

It's just the sound of me taking a deep breath after a very productive, whirlwind day for Troy's football program. I've been with you for the last eight or so hours sending updates as the NLI's for 20 future Trojans rolled in.

I can only hope that the newest Trojans are able to help the program achieve as much success as its seen in the last five years. Here's to five more championships with these 20 playing key roles.

Be sure to tune in at 4 pm when the annual NSD press conference featuring head coach Larry Blakeney along with recruiting coordinator Randy Butler is streamed live over

Thanks for all your emails, tweets and especially your interest in Troy football. Feel free to keep sending me all your questions and comments.

Go Trojans!


SIGNING DAY: Today's Signees Close with Payne

SIGNING DAY: Today's Signees Close with Payne
Taylor Bryan

Troy's 20th signee is most likely its last of the day and it is Northeast Mississippi CC defensive lineman Anthony Payne. Payne checks in at 6-1, 300 pounds and will compete for playing time at an inside spot on the d-line.

He originally signed with Troy in 2009 out of Leroy HS. He's a high school teammate of current Trojan d-lineman Aaron Williams.

SIGNING DAY: 18 and 19 are Both Big OL

SIGNING DAY: 18 and 19 are Both Big OL
Taylor Bryan

Northview HS offensive lineman Bart Whigham is signee number 18 on Wednesday for the Trojans. Whigham is 6-foot-3 and weights in at 303 pounds.

Whigham is in-state signee number eight for Troy.

Number 19 is JUCO offensive lineman Jeremy Pierce from Jones County JC in Ellisville, Miss. Pierce is originally from Heidelberg, Miss. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 300 pounds.

SIGNING DAY: Trojans Go with a Mississippi JUCO WR

SIGNING DAY: Trojans Go with a Mississippi JUCO WR
Taylor Bryan

Troy has had success with Mississippi JUCO wide receivers in recent years, specifically wide outs Jason Bruce and Tebiarus Gill. This time the Trojans go back to the state with Coahoma CC wide receiver Hollis Moore II.

Troy's signee total is now at 16 for the day.

SIGNING DAY: Mobile, Ala. Lineman and Louisiana Duo Pledge

SIGNING DAY: Mobile, Ala. Lineman and Louisiana Duo Pledge
Taylor Bryan

The next set to pledge to the Trojans started with a big lineman from Baker (Ala.) HS defensive lineman DJ Johnson. Johnson checks in at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds. He's the sixth in-state players to pledge to Troy.

Joining him were a pair of former high school teammates from the state of Louisiana. Linebacker/safety Terron Bell (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish HS) and running back Montrell Conner (Monroe, La./Miss. State/Co-Lin CC) inked with the Trojans. Conner is a former four star recruit and Under Armour All-American.

Those three up the total to 15.


SIGNING DAY: JUCO D-Lineman and Local Product Come Through
Taylor Bryan

Southwest Mississippi CC defensive end Marty Stadom (Melbourne, Fla.) is the newest Troy signee.

Right behind him was Luverne (Ala.) HS offensive lineman Robert Freeman. Freeman is big - 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds.

The pair ups Troy's total to 12 for the day.

SIGNING DAY: Pair of Defenders’ Faxes Come Through

SIGNING DAY: Pair of Defenders’ Faxes Come Through
Taylor Bryan

Defensive end Xavian Evans (Pontotoc, Miss.) signed his paper work a few minutes before 9 am on Wednesday. Evans comes to Troy from Itawamba CC.

Following closely behind was high school defensive back Chris Davis (Thomasville, Ala./HS). Davis is an athletic, 5-foot-9 cornerback.

SIGNING DAY: Pair of Defenders’ Faxes Come Through

SIGNING DAY: Pair of Defenders’ Faxes Come Through
Taylor Bryan

Defensive end Xavian Evans (Pontotoc, Miss.) signed his paper work a few minutes before 9 am on Wednesday. Evans comes to Troy from Itawamba CC.

Following closely behind was high school defensive back Chris Davis (Thomasville, Ala./HS). Davis is an athletic, 5-foot-9 cornerback.

Davis brings Troy's number to 10 thus far on National Signing Day.

SIGNING DAY: Birmingham area makes its presence known

SIGNING DAY: Birmingham Area Makes its Presence Known

Taylor Bryan

Two Birmingham area commits sent in their paper work around 8:45. Gardendale (Ala.) HS quarterback Dallas Tidwell has pledged to the Trojans.

Joining him within a 15 minute span was Hoover (Ala.) HS linebacker Tyler Roberts. Roberts saw time at defensive end for the Bucs, but will play linebacker for the Trojans.

SIGNING DAY: The Next Round

SIGNING DAY: The Next Round
Taylor Bryan

Next in was cornerback DJ Jones from Jacksonville, Fla. He prepped at First Coast HS and graduated in 2009 and spent one season at Wake Forest. He's currently attending Florida State College in Jacksonville.

At 8:01 defensive end Dre'Shon McGaster rolled in on the fax machine. He's a 6-foot-3, 215 pound lineman out of Foley (Ala.) HS.

He was followed by a pair of Georgia high school athletes - kicker/punter Andrew Kay (Hampton, Ga./Dutchtown HS) and wide receiver Chandler Worthy (Griffin, Ga./HS).

That makes six total signees thus far on Wednesday for Troy.

SIGNING DAY: And it begins....

SIGNING DAY: And it begins...
Taylor Bryan

The first NLI is in on NATIONAL SIGNING DAY and it comes from wide receiver Bryan Holmes of Union County HS in Lake Butler, Fla.

Several more should be rolling in shortly as players on the east coast can get started earlier than those in the central time zone.

Edit: 7:30 am...

Next in is running back Daron White from First Coast HS in Jacksonville, Fla. White was recruited by coach Jeff Beckles and will also be coached by Beckles at the running back position next year.

SIGNING DAY: And it begins....

SIGNING DAY: And it begins...
Taylor Bryan

The first NLI is in on NATIONAL SIGNING DAY and it comes from wide receiver Bryan Holmes of Union County HS in Lake Butler, Fla.

Several more should be rolling in shortly as players on the east coast can get started earlier than those in the central time zone.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SIGNING DAY: It's like Christmas Eve

SIGNING DAY: It's like Christmas Eve
Taylor Bryan

The Troy Football coaching staff has been hard at work for many months to put together a recruiting class that they can be proud of and the media relations staff, myself included, has been hard at work for several days getting the coverage on ready to go for NSD.

Check back tomorrow morning as all the information should start rolling in bright and early. Don't forget to follow @TroyAthletics and @tabryan for all the latest news regarding National Signing Day.