Troy baseball opens season with win over Greenville

TROY — It may not be a typical Troy baseball team.

The Trojans have seven sophomores and a freshman on the roster.

So, Ty Welker knows inexperience will be an issue.

But, when you do all the little things well — as the Trojans did Monday in a 7-2 win over Greenville, you can overcome that.

“We understand that (the need to get young players innings and experience),” Welker said. “There will be a lot of moving pieces. Whether it is on the mound, pinch hitting, going in for defense. In the past, we have had pitchers who went six or seven innings.

“That is not the kind of team we have this year. If someone steps up and does that, awesome. There are going to be a lot of games like tonight (close games for the most part). There won’t be many big wins. If we get a few, great.”

At the plate, the Trojans did a lot of things to score runs.

In the first inning, they plated two runs after the first two batters were retired.

Trayce Mercer had a two-out bases-loaded single to score Caleb Fogarty and Eli Smith.

In the second, Troy took advantage of two walks and plated a run on Zach Prouty’s fielder’s choice.

“That was big to get three runs early,” Welker said. “We knew that hitting was going to be one of our strengths.”

Greenville made it 3-2 in the fourth, despite Troy turning its second double play of the game.

In the second, freshman shortstop Ryder Kirtley fielded a ground ball, stepped on second and threw to Prouty at first for a double play.

In the fourth, starting pitcher Brian Allen handled a ground ball, threw to Fogarty at second base, who threw to Prouty at first base for another double play.

“That was a nice play by Brian Allen,” Welker said.

Later in the inning, Alex Kolb had a two-run double to make it 3-2.

“We are going to battle on defense,” Mercer said. “I thought we could have made the play on a fly ball and there were a couple balls past the catcher.”

Kirtley walked in the fifth and scored from second on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Fogarty, who singled him in.

The Trojans added three runs in the seventh.

Baylee Shepherd brought in one run on a sacrifice fly, Kirtley had a RBI single and scored when he stole third and throw went into left field.

Allen pitched the first four innings, with Nick Garber and Andrew Helman pitching three innings of scoreless relied.

While the relievers walked four batters, Helman struck out the side in the seventh to end it.

Troy walked leadoff batters in four of the seven Greenville at bats.

“We can’t keep putting the leadoff batter on with walks,” Welker said. “That puts us in tough situations.”

For Greenville, Warren Hartzell and Ricky Heidrich combined on a four hitter, striking out six and walking seven.

“That guy (Warren Hartzell) is a really good pitcher,” Welker said. “We have a lot of respect for him.”

Troy pitchers combined on a four-hitter, striking out 12 and walking seven.

“We are going to throw Trayce (Mercer) tomorrow (Tuesday against Greenville),” Welker said. “He will throw strikes and we will see how it goes.”

Welker knows how important Monday was for a young team, who returns home Wednesday to host Centerville after the two games with Greenville.

“It is great for these kids to go out and get a win against a team that had already won a game,” he said. “They have been working really hard and we have been putting a lot of pressure on them (to get better). I think you are going to see a lot of games likes this (a battle) this year.”

As the team continues to improve and gain experience.