TROY, Ala. - The Troy University baseball team opens its 11th season under head coach Bobby Pierce with a four-game series against Florida A&M at Riddle-Pace Field this weekend. The series opens Friday at 6 p.m., continues with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m.
All four games will be broadcast live on the Troy IMG Sports Network with local coverage on 94.7 FM and free worldwide availability on TroyTrojans.com; game two of the Saturday doubleheader will be broadcast on 970 AM in Troy. Fans can also watch the games live on TroyTrojans.com through the Troy All-Access service.
The Trojans return a wealth of talent from last year's squad led by a trio of preseason All-Sun Belt selections in Logan Pierce, Danny Collins and Nate Hill.
Pierce was named the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year after he finished in the top seven of eight offensive categories in the league in 2012. Pierce will move across the diamond this year and play third base after spending the last two seasons at first base. He will be taking over for Collins who will move to the outfield; Collins led the Trojans with 12 home runs and 31 extra-base hits last season.
Hill along with fellow senior Thomas Austin anchor a deep Troy bullpen. Hill was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Watch List and carries a 12-4 career record into the season, while Austin finished third in the Sun Belt with a 2.80 ERA last year.
Junior college All-American and Troy, Ala., product Will Starling will get the call on the mound on opening night for the Trojans. The junior right-hander played his high school ball at nearby Pike Liberal Arts School and opened his collegiate career at Southern Union State College. Tanner Hicks, another junior college All-American, is slated to start game two for the Trojans. Hicks, a junior right-hander, went 10-1 with a 1.76 ERA at Central Alabama Community College last year.
Shane McCain makes his return to the diamond after missing all of last season with an injury; the junior southpaw will get the start in the third game of the series. Senior right-hander Ryan Brady, who went 2-3 with a 4.19 ERA last season, is scheduled to start the final game of the series for Troy.
Troy returns nine position players who started at least 34 games last season. The Trojans return much of their offensive production from last year as players that accounted for at least 70 percent of their at-bats, hits, runs scored, doubles, triples and RBIs return this year.
The Rattlers enter the 2013 season under the direction of new head coach Kevin Clethen. Senior right-hander David Duncan (1-8, 6.33) will get the start for Florida A&M in the opener, while senior right-hander Heath Blackburn (3-9, 6.85) is scheduled to start game two. True freshman right-hander William Carrasco is slated to start game three and the Rattlers did not announce a starter for game four.