TROY, Ala. - Winners in three of its past four Sun Belt Conference series, the Troy baseball team returns home this weekend for a critical three-game Sun Belt series against ULM at Riddle-Pace Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
All three games will be broadcast live on the Troy IMG Sports Network with local coverage on 94.7 FM and worldwide coverage on TroyTrojans.com or via the Tune-In Radio app on your smartphone by searching for WTBF-FM. Fans can also follow the action on TroyTrojans.com with live stats and live video.
The Trojans enter the weekend in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Sun Belt standings and the top eight teams qualify for the league tournament in two weeks. However, Troy is just two games out of fourth place and three games out of third place; ULM leads Troy by one game heading into the weekend. Troy concludes the regular season next week with a non-conference game at Alabama on Tuesday and a Sun Belt series at home against South Alabama on Thursday through Saturday.
A dramatic ninth-inning rally on Sunday at Louisiana-Lafayette gave the Trojans (22-26, 10-14 Sun Belt) their second consecutive Sun Belt series victory and third in the past four weeks. Troy scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning after seeing ULL score three in the seventh to take the lead. Sunday's victory clinched Troy's first-ever series victory in Lafayette.
Tyler Vaughn extended his hit streak to 13 games with a game-tying single and then Jo-El Bennett delivered a two-run double for the game-winner.
Boone Shear had a monster weekend at the plate for the Trojans as he hit .533 (8-for-15) with six runs scored and four RBIs. The senior outfielder has multiple hits in five straight games and has seen his batting average jump to .335 on the season; he is second in the Sun Belt with 48 RBIs. Shear has dominated Sun Belt pitching to the tune of a .381 batting average, which is the third-best average in the league.
The Trojans have played well at home this season and have won six of their last nine games at Riddle-Pace Field. Troy has won nine of its past 10 Sun Belt series at home, including two weeks ago against league-leading Florida Atlantic.
Senior right-hander Tyler Ray (3-5, 5.38) will get the start for the Trojans on Friday night. Ray leads the Sun Belt with 82 innings pitched this season and is seventh with 64 strikeouts. Reigning Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week Joe Hernandez will toe the rubber for the Trojans on Saturday. Hernandez tossed a complete-game, four-hitter last week at Louisiana-Lafayette. Troy has not announced its starter for Sunday.
The Warhawks (24-24, 11-14) come in with three straight Sun Belt series victories under their belts. ULM has enjoyed a home-heavy schedule over the past month with 9-of-12 league games at Warhawk Field; the Warhawks' last six league games are all on the road.
Senior first baseman Joey Rapp leads the Warhawks in batting average (.348), doubles (16), home runs (8) and RBIs (45). Jeremy Sy is the only other starter batting over .300 on the season as he checks in batting at a .343 clip with 10 doubles, six triples and three home runs.
Junior right-hander Shelby Aulds (3-1, 4.64) will make just his fourth start of the season for ULM on the mound when he toes the rubber for the series opener Friday. Junior southpaw Randy Zeigler (4-5, 3.46) is scheduled to start Saturday and junior right-hander Cale Wine (6-4, 4.65) will get the call on Sunday.