TROY, Ala. - Trae Santos hit two home runs to lead Troy past South Alabama 8-7 Sunday afternoon in Sun Belt Conference play at Riddle-Pace Field. The victory was the 900th of Troy head coach Bobby Pierce's 25-year career.
Santos' second homer of the game - a towering shot over the wall in left-center field - capped a five-run seventh inning for the Trojans (12-6, 1-2 Sun Belt). It was the first two-home run game by a Trojan since Danny Collins hit two at Louisiana-Lafayette last May.
Trailing 5-3, Brandon Brown drew a leadoff walk and Tyler Vaughn followed with a single. Logan Pierce grounded to short and the throw to second to try and get Vaughn sailed into right field. Brown scored on the third error of the game by South Alabama (17-4, 2-1) and Troy had runners at second and third for Collins.
Collins lined a double down the line in left field to plate both runners and Santos followed with his two-run blast to give Troy an 8-5 lead.
Vaughn finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored to raise his batting average to .411 for the season. Santos was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Collins finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Brandon Brown added a pair of hits and the key walk in the seventh from the nine hole in the Troy lineup.
The top three hitters in the Troy lineup - Vaughn, Collins (.446) and Pierce (.427) - are all hitting over .400 for the year.
The Trojans and Jaguars played pretty much even for the series as a combined four runs decided the three games. Troy out-hit South Alabama 38-35 for the weekend, while the Jaguars outscored the Trojans 25-23 over the three games.
Troy starter Shane McCain limited the Jaguars to just two hits in the game, but both were home runs. Dustin Dalken hit a three-run homer - his third of the series - with two outs in the sixth inning and Jordan Patterson hit a two-run shot in the first.
Vaughn led off the home half of the first with his seventh double of the season and two batters later Collins cashed him in with a single to center field.
Santos tied the game in the third with his first home run of the game, which went over the 30-foot wall in right field. Kyle Brown followed with a double to left center and Garrett Pitts gave the Trojans a 3-2 lead with a double down the line in right field.
Nolan Early pulled South Alabama within two, 8-6, with a sac fly in the eighth following a one-out single by Robby Campbell and a double by Patterson. Nate Hill came out of the Troy bullpen to get Early to line out and Nick Zaharion to ground into a fielder's choice.
Brent Mitchell hit a one-out double in the top of the ninth and scored on a wild pitch to close the gap to the final 8-7 margin. Cole Billingsley was then hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with just one out. Matthew Howard was summoned from the Troy bullpen and he got Campbell to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.
Howard picked up his third save of the season while Thomas Austin (1-0) earned the win after throwing 1.1 innings out of the bullpen; Austin allowed a run on two hits.
James Traylor (2-2) was tagged with the loss for the Jaguars after he allowed five runs - four earned - on three hits in just one-third of an inning. Jarron Cito started for South Alabama and allowed three runs on six hits in 5.2 innings.
Troy travels to Jacksonville State on Tuesday evening in non-conference action before traveling to Monroe, La., to take on ULM next weekend in a three-game Sun Belt series.