Trojans hand Tigers first region loss
LAGRANGE – It wasn’t their day.
The Troup Tigers were looking to maintain their perfect region record with a home win over the Carrollton Trojans on Wednesday, but they couldn’t make it happen.
The Tigers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull even, but the Trojans pushed three runs across in the top of the eighth inning to capture the 8-5 win.
The Tigers and Trojans have split their first two games this week, and they’ll play the series finale today at 5:30 p.m. in Carrollton.
Troup (9-3 overall) saw its six-game winning streak come to a close, and it fell to 4-1 in Region 5-AAAA, while Carrollton improved its region record to 3-2.
Wednesday’s game didn’t lack for drama.
There were clutch hits, big-time pitching performances, outstanding defensive plays, controversial calls by the umpires, and even an ejection of one of the Carrollton coaches.
When the dust cleared, it was Carrollton finding a way to get the road win, and Troup head coach Craig Garner said a lack of execution was the key reason his team came up short.
“If you allow free bases, and you make errors, and you’re leaving runners on third base with less than two outs and things like that, it’s hard to be successful,” Garner said. “That was a combination of all those things that ultimately led to the loss tonight.”
Winston Turner, coming off his three-hit, four-RBI performance in Tuesday’s win over Carrollton, had three more hits in Wednesday’s game, and he scored two runs.
Leadoff hitter Bo Halcomb had two hits and two runs scored, Brandon Gay had two hits including a bunt single that drove in a run, Ryan Bliss had an RBI double, Miles Cameron knocked in a run with a single, and Colby Williams had a sacrifice fly.
On the mound, Payton Upchurch got the start and he pitched the first five innings, and Williams went the rest of the way.
Troup jumped out a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Halcomb led off with a single, and he stole second and went to third on an error before scoring on a passed ball.
After Turner reached on a one-out double, Cameron drove him in with a base hit, and Troup led by two.
The Trojans came right back and tied it in the top of the second.
With two men on, Austin Garrett drove the ball into the outfield for what looked like a base hit, but the ball was misplayed.
Garrett ended up making it all the way to third, and two runs scored on the play, and it was a 2-2 game.
With a man on third and one out, Upchurch got back-to-back strikeouts to keep the game tied.
Carrollton threatened to take the lead in the third inning when Roury Glanton reached on a out-out double, but Gay threw him out trying to steal third, and it stayed a tie game.
The Trojans broke that tie with a pair of runs in the fourth inning.
Garrett had an RBI double, and William Curvino followed with a bunt single to bring in another run, and the Trojans led 4-2.
Carrollton extended its lead to 5-2 in the fifth inning, with Sam Barge’s double driving in a run.
The Tigers tied it in their half of the sixth inning.
Halcomb was the leadoff hitter in the inning, and he got the rally started with a bunt single, and after stealing second and moving to third on a wild pitch, he scored on a double by Bliss.
Ryan Cotton, Carrollton’s starting pitcher, was lifted at that point for Jared Soliz, who went the rest of the way.
Turner was the first batter Soliz faced, and his infield single put runners on first and second.
After Bliss and Turner both advanced on a double steal, Cameron walked to load the bases.
Next up was Williams, and his sacrfice fly brought the Tigers within a run, and Gay came to the plate with runners on second and third.
Gay put a bunt down that hugged the third-base line, and when it stopped rolling, the umpires ruled that it was a fair ball despite the protestations of the Carrollton coaches, and Turner scored the tying run.
Colby Bridwell walked to load the bases with one out, but Soliz struck out the next two batters, and it remained tied at 5-5.
That’s the way it stayed until Carrollton broke through in the eighth inning.
Mitch McClendon’s RBI single snapped the tie, and after another run scored when Glanton reached on an error, Sam Barge’s run-scoring single gave the Trojans a three-run lead.
The Tigers threatened in their half of the eighth inning.
Gay led off with a single, and Bridwell walked to bring the tying run to the plate.
Soliz was up to the challenge.
The sophomore right-hander retired the next three batters to end the inning, and the game.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports