Thursday, March 31, 2011

OUR FRIENDLY SCHEDULE I just finished putting together my travel bag for our road trip to Jonesboro, Arkansas this weekend for a Sun Belt series with Arkansas State. As I was double checking all the things you have to take on the road; it hit me that it's March 31st and this is the first time this year we've had to pack an overnight bag. The early season schedule has been very friendly to the Trojans as we have played 24 games and have not left the state of Alabama. Our three road games were all against in-state opponents and were one day trips back and forth. The other 21 games were played right here at home, on our beautiful surface in front of our great group of fans. It has been wonderful to spend so many nights in a row at home, that's for certain! One of my responsibilities here at Troy is to coordinate the scheduling for the program, which I have done for the last nine years. First of all, the conference schedule is handled by the Sun Belt office. Their staff posts the 10-week, 30 game schedule of which 15 are at home and 15 are on the road. That leaves four weekends and 26 non-conference games to schedule each year. Alabama, Auburn, Jacksonville State, Samford & UAB comprise 10 midweek games in the state that we typically play on Tuesdays throughout the year. We try and have three non-conference weekends in Troy and one weekend on the road. Two of the three weekends at home we will play a 4-game series. Add all those together and that equals 24 games that are built into the schedule. We have to locate two more games during the midweek to complete the schedule. The 2012 schedule has been completed for over a month as the arrangements are made well in advance. The 2013 schedule is halfway completed and should be done by the late spring or early summer. Our 2012 home schedule consists of two 4-game non-conference series and our five Sun Belt series along with our in-state midweek opponents. We also will host East Carolina in a Wednesday night game in early March which should be a great matchup. We have 29 games scheduled at Riddle-Pace Field in 2012. We lose a non-conference weekend at home as we have two return trips we must make. We continue our four-year home and home series with Southern Miss as we travel to Hattiesburg and we return a trip to Bethune-Cookman, who we hosted in 2010. The 2013 schedule will likely have 32 home games as that number is our target each year we schedule. I wish every year could be like this season, with six straight home weekends and 21 of the first 23 at home, but this year was a lucky scheduling year that we have all definitely enjoyed. Heading toward the bus now to load up the gear and head to Jonesboro. Be sure and tune in to your radios and computers this weekend and follow all the action. See you next week right back here at Riddle-Pace Field as we host Auburn on Tuesday and Florida International next weekend. Go Trojans!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trojans Get Some Love in Polls

E-Mail Ricky Hazel

It took a while, but the Troy baseball team finally cracked into one of the major national polls this week. Baseball America had Troy as the No. 21 team in their latest poll. I traded e-mails with Aaron Fitt of Baseball America yesterday and he confirmed that it is the first time Troy has ever been nationally-ranked by the publication.

Here is a rundown of the BA Top 25 this week.

The other major polls continue to look the other way where Troy is concerned. Collegiate Baseball ranks the top 30 teams, and does not list an "others receiving votes" list.

The USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll does list the others receiving votes. Troy is 33rd in that poll this week.

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers (NCBWA) Poll, of which I am a voting member, lists the others who receive votes, but not how many votes they receive. They just list them alphabetically. Troy has been receiving votes for a while, but there is no way to know how many others besides yours truly has been voting for the Trojans.

There is one other poll, which is published by, which is a subscription site. That site is edited by Kendall Rogers, who covered college baseball for Yahoo! before taking his new gig. The folks at PG don't have Troy in their top 25 this week, but have a feature about the Trojans being one of several teams on the brink of cracking the rankings.

One of my favorite web sites for college baseball is Publisher Mark Etheridge has his regional projections up for this week as well as a breakdown of potential seeding. He has Troy as a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In his regional projections, however, he has Southern Miss as a No. 1 and host while Troy is a No. 2 in the Gainesville Regional.

Obviously, there is still a lot of baseball to be played, and polls and projections will change dramatically over the next two months. If the Trojans continue to pitch and play defense they way they have, the polls and regional seeding will take care of themselves.

The Trojans will take their No. 21 ranking on the road tonight to face Auburn. It is just the third road game of the year for Troy, and the team is still looking for that first road win. Following the Auburn game, the Trojans will travel to face Arkansas State in Sun Belt play this weekend.

The links above will take you to see the various polls this week. Below is a look at how I voted in the NCBWA poll. Hopefully I will see a lot of Trojans at the park tonight over in Auburn.

Rank Team Record
1 Virginia 24-2
2 Vanderbilt 22-3
3 Florida 21-4
4 South Carolina 18-5
5 Texas A&M 19-5
6 Oklahoma 19-6
7 Arizona State 18-6
8 Florida State 18-6
9 Fresno State 18-2
10 Troy 19-4
11 Texas 17-7
12 Arizona 17-7
13 Arkansas 18-6
14 North Carolina 23-3
15 Georgia Tech 21-4
16 LSU 17-7
17 Rice 16-11
18 UCF 18-6
19 Southern Mississippi 18-5
20 Auburn 14-10
21 Stetson 20-5
22 New Mexico State 19-5
23 Mississippi 18-7
24 TCU 15-8
25 Charlotte 19-6
26 Oklahoma State 18-6
27 East Carolina 18-5
28 Tulane 18-6
29 UC Irvine 14-6
30 California 16-5

It Seems Like Pitchers Have Become Targets

It Seems Like Pitchers Have Become Targets

As of recently, hitters are trying to hit the ball back at pitchers. At least it feels like they are.

I don’t know if they are frustrated with the BBCOR bats and decided to take it out on us, the pitchers, or what, but I’ve seen more balls in the past two weekends come back and hit pitchers than I have in my entire life.

Unfortunately, I was a victim of it twice … on the shin … exact same spot … with the skinniest legs on the team.

Wasn’t fun!

But that was no problem for Sean Boland, the best college baseball trainer in the country. Thanks to him and the proper care, I was able to be back out there the following week!

Sometimes its hard to understand the rankings and the voting that goes into determining the weekly Top 25. When it’s all set and done, its just a number and it all gets erased when regionals start. But with that said, it is pretty special to get the recognition for the start of the season that we have deserved.

As of this week, we got ranked No. 21 in Baseball America. That’s great recognition for us, but its just a number and we still have a very long ways to go. Not to mention, we have a very tough conference schedule ahead against competitive teams with the same goals.

We take our first weekend road trip of the year to Arkansas State this week … yes it is April and we are just now leaving Troy! We were very spoiled ball players until now, but back to reality.

It was an awesome six weeks at home to start the year and couldn’t have asked for better support from the Trojan baseball fans. All of you have earned a weekend off from baseball at Riddle-Pace Field but it is a great opportunity to tune into the radio and listen to one of the best radio announcers in college baseball, Barry McKnight.

Thanks again for all the support! We look forward to returning home with another series win!

Go Trojans!

#12 Tyler Ray (@TroyTrojan12)

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." -1 Timothy 4:8

Friday, March 25, 2011

All In, All The Time

All In, All The Time

From the minute the alarm clock goes off, until you lay your head down at night, the Troy Trojans’ baseball team is on the grind. Not only dealing with the practice and workouts, but with studying and study hall.

Workouts and practice are the payoff, the fun part that you look forward to during the day. Unfortunately, we don't get to be on the field all day.

Classes go anywhere from 8 a.m. to around 3 p.m. for our players. We usually have practice at around 3 or 4, with the occasional night practice. Our mandatory workout schedule is Sundays at 7:15 p.m. and Wednesday at 8:15 p.m.

However, our players are so dedicated that we end up being in the weight room pretty much every day. That's the fun part. The downer comes after the workouts – study hall.

Study hall can be frustrating at times, and very stressful but, in the end, it is good for you. As a college athlete, it’s great to have because it forces you to study. However, sometimes you just can't do it and that's just reality.

These are the times when you procrastinate and, as baseball players, go get some more work in at the field and make up your study hall time the next day.

Different players have different opinions on the daily routine of college athletes. Here are some one line summaries from your Trojans on a day in the shoes of a Trojan baseball player.

Ivan Carter – "It’s a struggle sometimes, but always grinding."

Nathan Hill – "Since I was a young boy I played the silver ball."

Ali Knowles – "It's a full time job with no pay."

Joshua Dozier – "I might as well not even pay for housing or rent because I live at the field and at study hall."

Day-in and day-out, your Trojans are giving everything they can, therefore you should come out and support and show some love because nothing’s better than looking up into a packed stadium.

Come out this weekend. Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1p.m. and support.

Go Trojans

Jimmy Hodgskin

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another week, another snub by the national polls

E-mail Ricky Hazel

I've been at this college baseball gig for quite a number of years now, but there is one thing that has always escaped me. I just don't understand how the people who put out national polls come to the conclusions they reach.

I have voted on all kinds of polls in my career. I voted in the AP Football poll when I worked in the newspaper business, I have "helped" three different head coaches vote in the USA Today Coaches poll, heck I even had a Heisman Trophy vote one year.

But I just do not understand the college baseball polls.

I can look at teams results and see who is playing well and who is not. It is not all that hard. My feeling is that if you are playing well, you deserve to get votes. If you are not playing well, you don't deserve to get votes.

If you are Florida and you just swept a series at LSU, then you deserve to be ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation. That is a fairly unanimous pick.

Other teams that are fairly obvious to me are Vanderbilt, Virginia and Arizona State. Even Florida State, Oklahoma and LSU, who are all coming off tough weeks, are still deserving because their losses came to teams ranked ahead of them.

Where I lose it is after those first five or six teams.

Teams like TCU, Clemson, Cal State Fullerton, Stanford, Rice and Oregon continue to receive enough votes each week to maintain their spots in the polls even though they are regularly posting 2-2 records during each week. Heck, Stanford hasn't even played in two weeks, but at 6-5 they are still a nationally ranked team.

Those teams all opened the season ranked high and I think some of the polls keep them ranked just to save face. I am not saying these teams are bad, I am just saying they have not played well enough to continue hogging poll positions from other quality teams who have played well.

If you look at my vote this week in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll, I have 10 teams ranked who were not in last weeks poll. Of those 10 teams that I voted for, exactly one received enough votes to be ranked.

I even have to laugh at that one team because of their three losses this year, two came at Riddle-Pace Field to the Troy Trojans. Southern Miss is 15-3 on the year and deserves a national ranking, but they don't deserve a spot over Troy, who they lost to twice.

In my vote, I have Southern Miss ranked 17th, one spot behind Troy. I think this is fair.

I am also amazed by the coaches poll. Last week Troy had 15 poll points. This week the Trojans only got 11. The only Sun Belt coach who votes on the poll is South Alabama's Steve Kittrell and I can't see him dropping the Trojans after losing a series to Troy. So, who changed their vote, and better yet, why?

I guess the only way for Troy to get the attention of some of these pollsters is to go on a long winning streak. Wait, that happened back in 2006 when Troy won 14 in a row, but never got ranked. Maybe a 20-game win streak would be enough, who knows.

I know the joys of having home cooking every night are quickly coming to an end. After this weekend's series against UALR, the Trojans will play four straight on the road, first at Auburn and then at Arkansas State.

You hate to make the two or three games each year against the "big boys" in the state seem more important than any other games but, for the Trojans to get into the national conversation, those games are critical.

Playing well on television is also a big factor. Troy has two regionally televised games coming up in the next couple of weeks. First, the game at home against Auburn on April 5 will be televised on CSS with Joe Davis, the Montgomery Biscuits' radio voice, and former Atlanta Braves/Atlanta Falcons star Brian Jordan on color.

The Trojans will make their lone appearance on the Sun Belt Conference game of the week on Saturday April 9 against FIU. That game is being moved to a 7 p.m. start to accommodate TV. Like the Auburn game, the FIU tilt will be on CSS.

I'll be out of commission for the next couple of days. Having a little sinus surgery tomorrow morning. Hopefully everything will go well and I'll be able to breathe much better after the procedure. I'll be back at Riddle-Pace Field this weekend for the battle of the Trojans.

Here is how I voted in the NCBWA poll this week. You can click here to see how the poll turned out.

Rank Team Record
1 Florida 18-2
2 Vanderbilt 19-2
3 Virginia 19-2
4 Arizona State 15-4
5 Florida State 16-4
6 Oklahoma 17-5
7 LSU 16-4
8 South Carolina 14-4
9 Texas A&M 15-5
10 Texas 15-5
11 Arizona 15-5
12 Auburn 14-6
13 Fresno State 14-2
14 UC Irvine 14-2
15 Arkansas 15-4
16 Troy 16-4
17 Southern Mississippi 15-3
18 North Carolina 18-3
19 Rice 13-9
20 Georgia Tech 17-4
21 UCF 16-4
22 Georgia State 18-4
23 Tulane 16-4
24 Mississippi 15-6
25 TCU 12-7
26 College of Charleston 15-6
27 Stetson 16-4
28 East Carolina 16-4
29 New Mexico State 15-5
30 UNLV 17-6

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Real Season Starts Tonight

E-mail Ricky Hazel

So far, the 2011 baseball season has been great for the Troy Trojans. With the exception of one rain-soaked night in Tuscaloosa, no one could have expected more from the team when the year started.

Now that the preliminaries are over, it is time for the team to get down to the serious business of conference play. Like in any sport, the most important games during the season are the ones you play against conference foes.

I've heard Coach Larry Blakeney talk about the important of league play literally hundreds of times. He makes a valid argument that without conference play, teams literally have nothing to play for but pride.

But more than pride will be at stakes when the Trojans host South Alabama this weekend in baseball and ULM this weekend in softball. Both series will begin the road to a conference title, which is something every college student-athlete wants to accomplish.

For the baseball series, it will be the first of two times for Troy and South Alabama to face off. The teams will meet in another three-game set in Mobile at the end of the season. That series will mark the final home games for Jaguars coach Steve Kittrell, who is retiring after this year.

But, before that big season-ending series, the Trojans have nine weeks of conference play to deal with. The Trojans have the advantage of opening the season with not only the first three league games at home, but the first six.

After the first two weeks, Troy will alternate road and home series until the tough final stretch of the year. The last three weeks of the season will include a trip to Monroe, a trip to Mobile and then, hopefully, another trip to Monroe for the Sun Belt Conference Championship.

Speaking of the tournament in Monroe, the event will have a new format this year. There will be two four-team pools. Each team will play the other three squads in their pool and, after round-robin play is completed, the teams with the best records in pool play will meet for the league title.

The benefit of the new format is there will only be three games played each day, so no more midnight or later starts. No team will have to play more than once on any day, and every team will have a day off during the week.

The new format should make the games more competitive and should also leave any teams advancing to NCAA Regional play with healthy pitching.

Pitching and defense have been the reasons Troy is off to a 14-3 start this year, the best since the 1990 team opened 19-1. The Trojans lead the Sun Belt in both ERA and fielding percentage, and those categories are always the best indicators of success.

I didn't get a chance to post my National Collegiate Baseball Writers Poll vote last week, but I'll make every effort to update my blog each week with that vote as well as the results of the poll. You can see all of the national college baseball polls in the game notes for each weeks series, or you can find them on the various college baseball sites.

One site I use almost every day is In addition to live scoring updates from every game played, there are also plenty of links to other items of interest.

Here is how I voted this week as well as how the poll turned out.
2Florida State15-1
7South Carolina11-2
8Arizona State11-3
10Texas A&M12-4
11College of Charleston14-3
13UC Irvine12-1
16Fresno State11-2
18Southern Mississippi11-3
21North Carolina14-3
26Oregon State13-3
29Oklahoma State12-3
30Georgia Tech12-4

And here is how the voting turned out.

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

I don't understand why so many voters choose to vote for teams with bad records just because of who they are (Rice, Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, Clemson, Cal State Fullerton). To me, rankings should always be about performance on the field. Obviously, quality competition plays a factor, which is why I do have Stanford and Clemson in my vote, although they are both in the bottom 10.

I can tell you that Clemson, without a big weekend, will be out next week after dropping mid-week games again this week. Stanford is on the verge of dropping out as well because the Cardinal hasn't played much in a while.

I hope to see you at the ball park this weekend. I'd also like to send out a big congratulations to former Troy punter, and media relations graduate assistant, Jason Wright and his fiance Amy Adams on their wedding, which will be on Saturday.

The Bat: The Ultimate Weapon on the Playing Field

The Bat: The Ultimate Weapon on the Playing Field

The 2010 Troy Trojans posted an unbelievable stat last year, stroking 100 home runs. This is a number most people would laugh at in disbelief. Power hitters filled the roster as they do for this years' squad.

However there is a huge difference in this year and last year -- the bat they get to swing.

Last years' bat was dominant. Hitters would smile when they put it in their hands. This year the TPX is a log however.

It is extremely difficult to make such an adjustment, bat-to-bat, however our unbelievably dominant hitters easily do so.

With guys like as Blake, AB, Boosie Boo, Hayden, T.J., Tyson, Petey, Prichard, Clay, McGowan, Logan, Big Country Kyle, Boone, Toddy Todd, Dixon, Ali, JMac, Siegel and Vaughn -- you know, the whole team -- with guys like this in the lineup, it's too tough for the opposing pitcher.

Not only are their skill levels and abilities unbelievable, but with good bats in their hands and it got out of control. Balls soared off there bats into other orbits and atmospheres.

Now we break out the newer version of the TPX this weekend and I'm sure bombs will continue to be dropped.

Come out and support the Trojans this weekend as we take on USA in our first conference game.

Jimmy Hodgskin

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baseball Players are Superstitious

Baseball Players are Superstitious

Everyone knows that baseball players are the most superstitious athletes on the planet, whether they admit it or not. Its unexplainable. We don’t know why we do what we do or even know how it started, but we will keep doing them until the numbers tell us otherwise.

I don’t believe anyone this year has a reason to change anything yet. When first asking a majority of the guys, they claim they can’t think of any superstitions on the spot and then, before you know it, they are rolling off one after another. I figured this would be a great chance to get to know some of your favorite Trojans in a different way.

TYLER RAY #12: I have to make five free throws in row on our six foot Fisher Price basketball goal and then drink a blue Powerade while watching a movie on any of the movie channels before I leave the house. On the way to the field I have to listen to the same two Linkin Park songs. If, for whatever reason, they are not finished by time I get to the field then I have to remain in my car until they are. While pulling up to the park I honk my horn at our pitchers on right field home run duty during batting practice. I hate it when nobody is out there at the time because I still have to randomly honk my horn. I never touch the game ball with my right hand until I need to throw. I always have to have heat and a weighted ball in my hand between innings.

NATE HILL #37: Hits his glove three times on the back of mound and takes three aggressive steps onto the rubber to start off an inning.

SHANE MCCAIN #28: Wears high ankle socks under game socks. Takes three drop back quarterback throws while warming up. He stretches with Tyler Vaughn’s wooden bat in the locker room before every game.

DREW HULL #15: He only eats one banana leading up to his usual one o'clock start and has strange stretching methods that probably don’t even exist.

NICK WARD #45: After every bad pitch he wipes off the rubber to clear that pitch from his head. So, if the mound is spotless the day Ward throws, that isn’t a good sign.

CHRIS FISHER #26: He kisses his glove every time before he goes out to pitch.

Position Players
T.J RIVERA #8: He touches second base while taking the field.

ADAM BRYANT #6: Wears one sock inside out during every game. He doesn’t wear a cup while playing home games. He had a scare a couple weeks ago, but that still hasn’t stopped him. He puts in a piece of gum right before his first at bat.
TODD MCCRAE #19: He has a lucky jockstrap of six years that has been passed down from siblings. He has a lucky peanut that he has had since JUCO. He was dared during a JUCO game to see if he could keep it in his mouth during the entire game. Not only did he do that, but he also had a perfect 3-for-3 day with a home run. He doesn’t put it in his mouth anymore, but he still has it in his locker.

BLAKE MARTZ #14: He chews watermelon bubblelicious gum during batting practice.

BOONE SHEAR #3: He has to have something on his left wrist.

ALI KNOWLES #33: He eats a McDonald's No. 8 on game days. Watches an episode of "Fresh Prince", and has the same socks every day underneath game socks.

COACH PHILLIPS: Wouldn't cooperate with the interview because he is superstitious of telling his superstitions. Whatever works!
COACH HOUSE: Sprints over to coach first base and leads the same amount of base running sprints before the game.

MANAGERS: Write the starting pitchers' name in the dirt behind the mound.

We have a huge week and rest of the year starting this weekend with South Alabama. It’ll be the beginning of our important conference play. We are playing good ball right now and plan on keeping it going, but we can’t do what we are trying to do without the continued great support of the Troy baseball fans we have had to this point.

We look forward to seeing everyone there this weekend! Go Trojans!

Tyler Ray #12 (@TroyTrojan12)

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” Hebrews 12:11-13

One Final Time From the West Coast

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 9:00 am
by Randi Ashworth

Wednesday 3/09, 5:25 pm
We just left the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It was a very peaceful and educational way to spend an off day. Even the players who seemed a bit skeptical about spending part of their off day in California in a museum walked away with a true appreciation for one of Americas great former leaders.

The museum was set in Simi Valley, California with a beautiful back drop of rolling mountains. We got to explore the museum at our own pace starting at Reagan's childhood years into his radio and film day. We learned about the many ways he developed his leadership and communication skills. We watched a brief video of how he met his wife Nancy and her many roles often times behind the scenes. We learned about his strategies in reducing government debt, his war on drugs and his involvement in foreign affairs and all of his many successes. A clip was played of the attempted assassination and his forever gratitude to God that stemmed from his survival of this incident.

We then watched videos of his struggle with Alzheimer's disease and relived the mourning of the country when he died. In addition to all of this we got to go on board an Air Force One aircraft and see exactly what it was like when Reagan flew on it. Over all this has been my favorite non-softball activity we have done this far. I don't think anyone could leave with out a heightened appreciation for our country's leaders, a greater respect for President Reagan, or an
overwhelming motivation to also want to make a difference in the world.

-- Thank you Mr. Reagan

We got into the Picadilly Inn late after eating at an authentic mexican diner where tongue tacos were an option on the menu.. YUMM.. Not exactly La Parota.

We went to bed and began preparing for our game against Idaho.

Thursday 3/10, 11 am
We went for a walk with Coach to get everyone up and moving then we got dressed and are now on our way to pregame meal.

We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. More my style than the mexican diner the night before.

Dropped a game against Idaho State despite turning multiple double plays. Our bats didn't turn on tonight and it's been quite a battle between our southern team and these west coast umpires. There were multiple illegal pitch calls. Now its time to ice bath and get refreshed to bounce back tomorrow.

Friday, 3/11

Early morning breakfast and bus pulls out at 7am. Everyones ready for a little redemption.

We defeated Bradley for the third time this season. However our bats were still not quite as lively as we have grown used to and are capable of, but a W is a W. Our second opponent was Drake. We trailed 5-1 heading into the top of the seventh we finally got a few hits through and it spread like wild fire. We won in the 8th inning 12-5. It was a proud day to be a Trojan. To top it all off Hayden hit two home runs for her 21st birthday. Happy Birthday Hayden! Now we are heading to Outback for a delicious celebratory dinner!!

Saturday, 3/12, 10 am
And the last day of a long trip of demanding schedules and intense play. However it still wasn't too much to keep the coaches from finding a field and making time to help players in getting a few extra reps and making a couple tweeks as we prepared to play 11th ranked California and Fresno State.

We had two very tough losses today. Cal 1-0 on an arguable call and Fresno State 2-1.

As we close out the trip we leave with our tasks ahead very clear, the areas in which that we should be focusing on and pride in being a part of a wonderful team that made a statement on the west coast.

We pull out of Fresno at 1:30 am and as I pack and reflect on this past week. I can't help but feel thankful for the opportunity that I have been given, seeing Las Vegas and California, competing in the game I love with top ranked opponents and spending time with team mates that feel more and more like family. For me this was the best way I could have spent any spring break.

Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From the West Coast

On The Way to California
By Kelly Luquette
Posted: March 13, 2011 at 12:04 AM (CST)

We left Vegas this morning and headed for Fullerton California. We passed by death valley and saw the worlds largest thermometer in a small town called baker.

For lunch we had a catered meal at a white house. It was a place used for wedding ceremonys, proms, and parties. The pasta was amazing and the team had a good time laughing and dancing like always.

We played a double header against cal Fullerton. We won the first game 4-0, and the second 13-4.

I knew we were in Hollywood when a few of the girls were leaning over the seats trying to take pictures of the Hollywood sign. We walked down the "walk of fame" and took pictures of the stars on the ground. There are some very unique people in this area. I stopped in at some side carts and bought shirts and a few things with "Hollywood" on them.

As a team we attended the Ronald Reagan presidential library. It was a very eye opening, educational, and inspirational experience. As we went through the museum we learned about the president and what he had done for the nation. The scenery on the way to the library and view from the museum it self was amazing. A forever seeming land of mountains and water. It was good bonding time for the team as well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Personal Weekend

The past weekend was such a memorable experience for me personally. I had the rare and unique opportunity to share time with my former teammates from the 1986 National Championship team while also competing against the coach who provided me with my first college coaching opportunity.

Mark Hogan, the veteran head coach at Southeast Missouri, hired me in the late summer of 1989 as he was just named the head coach at Livingston University (now West Alabama). I had just completed my Master's degree from Troy (State) University and was hoping for a chance to stay in college baseball. Coach Hogan had promised me two years earlier at a summer camp in Troy if he ever had the chance to hire me as an assistant coach he would. I am forever indebted to him for providing me the opportunity to get started in the coaching business and provide me the chance to learn and grow as a young coach. We spent the better day of every day together for five years and developed a very close and personal relationship that we carry until this day. It was a wonderful experience spending the four days around him again as we reminisced about some great times together. He was also very gracious as our 1986 team had a wonderful celebration prior to our game Friday night. He too remembered most of the players and success of that team as he was coaching in Andalusia at Lurleen B Wallace CC at the time.

As for the reunion, I can only say it was a memorable experience to reconnect with some of my closest friends that I will ever know. The 1986 team was such a talented team that really steamrolled most of the opponents on the schedule. We posted a 46-8 record and a perfect 12-0 playoff run while capturing the first national championship in school history. The players that were able to attend were treated to a first ever video tribute at Riddle-Pace Field which captured their attention prior to the game on Friday night. As some of the teams accomplishments were being listed, I truly enjoyed the look on their faces as I could see their pride bursting through. We had a few pictures made and walked off the field together once again just prior to the 2011 Trojans took the field for the opener of the series.

Tyler Ray was on top of his game as he pitched a classic four-hit shutout in game one as the players from 1986 stood atop the third base dugout and were in the game every pitch. Many current players remarked on Saturday morning how much those guys were pulling for our team as if they were in our dugout. They actually were in many ways as most of them follow the Trojans every game on the internet. The rest of the series featured more quality pitching by Drew Hull and Ryan Sorce as the Trojans swept Southeast Missouri and finished off an incredible weekend.

I was truly exhausted after the weekend, not from the late nights with my former teammates or the close games that happened on the field but from the sheer emotion of the entire weekend. It was an amazing personal experience and one that I will cherish for years to come.

From Vegas

Thursday, March 9, 2011
Senior Ashley Adkins

How 'bout that ride in? Guess that's why they call it sin city. It's good to see Miss Pats smiling face every time we travel .. too bad she can't come all the way with us.

The trip started off with coach giving us a life lesson. Even professionals aren't disciplined enough to do what they are supposed to do, how it's supposed to be done, WHEN it's supposed to be done and doing it that way everytime. No matter what you do in life, big or small, do it right.

We ate lunch at habaneras was muy bueno, except for the hair in the salsa. I used to complain about never getting a spring break because I was always playing ball and now that it's my last year I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else with any other people.

We finally landed in Vegas, the flight was pretty long but nothing like Hawaii, and we got to sit next to some west coast boys. The double double at in and out burger was awesome ... shh don't tell coach.

We got to hit the strip for the night. All these lights and hotels/casinos are beautiful. I hope our team has as much luck as I did on the slot machines. Thank you so much to everyone who made this trip possible. We have two late games so we get to relax, eat lunch and walk around mandalay bay today. We dropped both games tonight to UNLV and San Diego. Although they were good teams we should of won both. We have to get better tomorrow and prove why we got the opportunity to come out here.

We had late games again tonight. We lost in extra innings to Kansas and beat San Jose. Way to bounce back. We are back at the field early to play Bradley. We took care of them in 5. Now we get to enjoy the rest of our day in Vegas! Happy birthday Cooper!

Tomorrow we are off to Cali!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

From the Davis Cup

Thursday, March 3, 2011 3:10 pm
by Sami Ghorbel

Tournament Website

Today we practiced in the morning for an hour, then we made the draw and had a press interview. Tomorrow the matches start at 1pm. I will be playing number two singles for my team against the English number one player JAMES WARD ranked 214 in the world.

Davis Cup is a brilliant experience, all my teammates and I are chomping at the bit to get on the court and play.

I think I will be playing a good player tomorrow who has more Davis Cup and ATP experience than myself, but it's a good opportunity for me to compete, have fun and play the match of the year.

We also have to consider the fact we are playing the English team in England as an advantage because the crowd is going to be massive tomorrow at Bolton Arena (around 2100 people) which can make them more under pressure than us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From the Davis Cup ... all the way from England

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Troy University freshman Sami Ghorbel is currently representing his country in the Davis Cup, and here is what he has to say about his first few days there ...

To be able to represent my country is one of the highest honors I could receive. I was born and raised in Tunisia, and waving its colors always brings me joy.

It is also a honor for me to be picked up for the Davis cup team for the first time and to be play able to play against a good team in England. I think it is a good opportunity for me to compete and show up against really good and professional players who are ranked in the ATP. It will help me improve my tennis level, and I think I will also be ready for the matches with the Trojans and for the conference, when I return.

The organization is really good. People are being really nice here and they are trying to make us feel comfortable. We have everything we need to be prepared for this match, and I think we have our chance to win even if it is in England and the stadium will be full of supporters.

We are playing in Bolton Arena. It's a Leisure complex focusing on tennis but also includes football and athletics. It has really nice facilities and services with news and special offers. The hotel is really close to the courts which make it easier for us to rest.

Today we practiced in the morning at 12 then we will hit in the afternoon. After the practice, we will have a massage session. The official dinner is delayed for Saturday night.

On The Road with Freshman Taylor Smartt

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Well we are headed to Hattiesburg, Mississippi with Ms Pat driving our bus.

Had a decent week of practice just ready to play and see if our defense has gotten a little more solid compared to our tourney in Troy this past weekend. Hopefully our bats will still be hot like they have been.

We have a pet this trip, the turtleee!! Coach rescued it and my fellow freshman and roommate this trip, Kacie and I are keeping, this shall be interesting!

Catch phrase kept the bus ride fun and entertaining

We just had a good dinner at the Williams house. Thank y'all!

Well we are searching for a hotel, this should be interesting...Marriott it is!!

Kacie and I played with the turtle and fed him. We played a prank on Shields room and let the turtle in there to scare them lol

Trojan baseball won yay! Bed time!

Good mornninggg. It's bright and early. Me and Kacie both had dreams about the turtle climbing in bed and biting us..ha

On the bus waiting for our breakfast which is in a ditch with Ally and Denise. I'm ready to play and feel great, it's gonna be a great weekend.

Off to the ball field, GAMEE TIMEE!

Two wins yay! We played well scored a bunch of runs. Had errors but the bucoods of runs still let us get the w's. Nicholls and Mississippi Valley State beaten. I hit my first collegiate home run today, but my mom missed it by 15 minutes. Just glad I am contributing to the hits and now keep working harder to be consiistent. The middle of the line up got alot of hits and RBI's, congrats!

Ice baths...I SCREAMED SOO LOUD! 30 seconds that I hated lol ....but it helped.

Now shoppingggg yayy! We are karoking on the bus while Ms Pat is in Walmart.
Ashley is leading us in some GREAATT song let me tell you

Dinner at Mexican restaurant then our scouting report meeting. Picking up the turtle on the way to the room. Been along day, I'm going to sleep.

Morninggg Trojans! Not as early as the night before but it's early. The turtle is alive and well! Ready to have a great day at the ball field again today.

On the bus, listing to my iPod getting ready for 2 more w's.

Well we won against Evansville, not as many runs but 2 home runs helped us to that win, we played great defense and had no errors. Yay!
On the bus cooling off before our games vs Southern Miss. About to play some catch phrase..

This game should be good as long as we played solid defense and hit the ball then we will have no worries. Letsss gooo!

Well go Trojans! We won. The final in the southern miss game was 15-9. Gave up 6 runs in bottom of the first but we never let that scare us we got 3 in the top 2 then they went up 2 more then we put up a 7 in the top of the 3 and we never turned back. Defense wasn't great but it was good enough to get the job done and get a w! I'm pretty sure everyone in our line up got a hit. It was a great tourney and feels great to win it after falling short in our's 4-0 for the weekend.... We will take that and now 11-3 on the season

On the road again, headed back to T-Roy! Gotta a solid week of practice ahead of us then headed to the West Coast! I'm so excited!

It's great to be a Trojan and part of this team

Taylor Smartt #14

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Freshman's View: Jimmy Hodgskin

Well another solid weekend for the team. The University of Southern Mississippi came in to Troy probably expecting much better results. We won the series with a dominating victory on Sunday 13-4. Our pitching once again was lights out along with error free defense and light tower power offense.

Right now we are 6-1 and have won both series. The team is really clicking and it is honor to be a part of the Troy Trojans baseball team. I look up to all of my teammates and enjoy being around them.

As a freshman this is all new to me. I never expected the college baseball atmosphere to be so intense only seven games into the year. We travel to Samford today for our first road trip and I am very excited.

This weekend we have another big series, so please come out and keep supporting us as we make our steps toward Omaha.

25 Years of Memories

The 2011 Trojan baseball team has gotten off to a good start at 6-1 in our first two weekends of play. There is a long way to go and many more games to play but our players are focused on competing for a championship at the end of the season. They embrace the idea of Omaha and fully understand the amount of hard work, commitment and sacrifice required to accomplish such a lofty goal. All these thoughts lead my back to exactly 25 years ago when I was a member of the 1986 NCAA Division II National Championship team here at Troy.

In fact this coming weekend (March 4-6), as our team hosts Southeast Missouri State University in a 3-game series, the 1986 championship team will hold a reunion in Troy around the three games. Many of the players from that outstanding 46-8 team that secured the national title in Montgomery's Paterson Field will be on hand for the festivities. Each player will be honored on the field in a pre-game ceremony prior to the 6:00 game on Saturday, March 5.

It's difficult for me to fully comprehend the 25 years that have passed by since I was playing the game of baseball here at Troy and competing with some of the best players and best competitors you could imagine. The memories from those day will become more vivid as the week progresses and this weekend will bring about many more lasting memories to cherish for years to come. Most of the players from that year have remained in close contact through the years and we all have a special bond that will never be broken. Championship teams have that bond while they are playing but don't truly realize it until time passes by. The most unique part of the bond is that it is never broken. If any of my former teammates were in need, I can assure you that me or any other teammate would do whatever necessary to help. That's the special feeling that we all have for each other.

Over the last 25 years, we all have gotten older, a little heavier, probably a little smarter and most likely a better player in our stories. We've lost one teammate, lost track of a few others but one thing that none of us will ever lose is our love and admiration for our head coach, Chase Riddle. For many of us as players, Coach Riddle was a larger than life figure that always led us in the right direction. He's not only the smartest baseball person I've ever known, he's also one of the best people I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Coach Riddle is now in his 80's, still living in Troy with his beloved wife Ms. Betty, and hopes to participate in the pre-game ceremony on Saturday. Everyone associated with Troy athletics knows the importance of Coach Riddle's contributions to not only the game of baseball but to the university as well. The field bares his name and his #25 is still the only retired jersey number in school history. Fitting that we get to celebrate a 25 year reunion and the #25 is such a special number in Troy baseball history.

Although my focus remains on the 2011 baseball team and their pursuit of a championship, this particular weekend I will have an opportunity to enjoy some great memories with some of my closest friends I'll ever have. It should be a great weekend of college baseball on the field and a wonderful opportunity for former champions to be celebrated by all the Trojan faithful. Please make plans to be at Riddle-Pace Field all three days to help the 2011 team continue to build their own memories and celebrate the 1986 team for their incredible season 25 years ago!

Go Trojans!

Mark Smartt