Arkansas State took a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Troy Trojans (13-12, 3-4) scored twice in the seventh and five times in the eighth to hand the Red Wolves (15-11, 5-2) a 7-6 defeat Friday night in game one of the Sun Belt Conference series between the two teams at Riddle-Pace Field.
Arkansas State senior Jacob Lee struck out a career-high 10 batters in six innings on the mound, but relievers Bradley Wallace and Brandon Farley couldn't keep the Trojans off the board, with Wallace giving up five runs and Farley the final two. Lee did not give up a run on six hits and a walk.
"Credit Troy, they did a wonderful job of putting together some at-bats," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "They kept swinging away and had some key hits. We gave away three free bases that scored runs, so out of those seven, three were free bases. They got to seven runs before we did and they earned the win."
Pelham, Ala. native Ryan Roberts put the Red Wolves on the board in the second with a two-run home run, driving in second baseman Anthony Hecht, who had reached earlier in the inning with a double to center field.
The 2-0 ASU lead stood until the seventh, when the Red Wolves tacked on four runs. A two-run single from shortstop Dustin Jones drove home Arkansas State's first two seventh-inning runs and a two-run double from right fielder Collin Massanelli made it 6-0, A-State.
First baseman Logan Pierce got the Trojans going in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run home run, and Troy got the big inning in the bottom of the eighth when the Trojans crossed the plate five times.
A run-scoring double from catcher Jake Harrell got the scoring started, followed by an RBI single from shortstop Tyler Hannah. A two-run double from Pierce down the left field line tied the score at 6-6, and a sacrifice fly to right field from left fielder Boone Shear drove in Pierce to put the Trojans on top, 7-6.
The Red Wolves managed to get the tying run to second base in the top of the ninth, but Troy reliever Nathan Hill retired the final two batters he faced to earn his second save of the season.
Farley (1-2) pitched the eighth inning and took the loss for the Red Wolves, giving up the two runs on two hits, with no walks and two strikeouts. Working the seventh, Wallace gave up five runs on three hits and walked three while striking out two.
A.J. Howard (1-0) picked up the win for Troy, going to the mound in the eighth and working one inning, striking out all three batters he faced.
Roberts went 2-for-2 with two RBIs to lead ASU at the plate, while third baseman Danny Collins was 3-for-5 for Troy.
The Red Wolves and Trojans will resume the series at 7:00 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be televised live by the Sun Belt Network and ESPN3.com.