BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Troy scored nine runs in two innings on Friday at Nick Denes Field, tallying four runs in the fifth inning and five runs in the seventh to win the series opener over the WKU baseball team, 11-3. The outcome puts WKU and Troy in a tie in the Sun Belt Conference standings, as both now sit at 8-5 in league play on the year.
The loss for WKU was its first Friday loss at home since February 22 against Bowling Green State, snapping a three-game winning streak on Friday’s at home for the Hilltoppers. It was also the first time all season WKU had allowed double-digit runs in a game, as it was the first time that had occurred since April 27 of last season.
Left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins pitched four innings of nearly perfect baseball in his seventh start of 2013 before Troy scored four runs in the fifth. Perkins took the loss and fell to 2-2 on the year, but he did strike out a season-high seven batters. In his last two starts, Perkins has worked 12.1 innings and fanned 12 batters in a Friday night starting role.
Troy tallied one hit in the first four innings, but used four runs in the fifth frame to take the game’s first lead. A three-run homer by the Trojans’ Matthew Howard in the seventh inning sparked a five-run frame to open things up, as Troy tacked on its other two runs with a two-run shot in the ninth inning by Trae Santos. Howard finished his night going 3-for-5 with three RBI.
WKU struck in the eighth inning when Scott Wilcox drove in a run with an RBI single, followed by senior Devin Kelly punching a two-RBI single through the left side to make it 9-3 at the time. The multiple-RBI performance was the fourth of Kelly’s career. WKU would have the bases loaded with one out in the inning, but a 6-4-3 double play got Troy out of the eighth-inning jam.
WKU used five pitchers on Friday, as the freshmen trio of Josh Bartley, Alex Mercer and Jackson Sowell combined to work 2.2 innings, striking out five Troy batters.