MONROE, La. -- Troy scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning following the first of two controversial calls in the frame. The runs in the ninth helped the Trojans escape Warhawk Field with a 5-3 victory over ULM Friday night in game one of a three-game Sun Belt Conference series.
The Warhawks tied the game at 3-all in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two-out single by Caleb Clowers that scored Les Aulds.
Daniel Peterson started the ninth-inning rally for the Trojans (36-14, 18-7 Sun Belt) with a one-out triple off the wall in right field. Following a pitching change which brought James Jones into the game, Tyson Workman drew a walk.
However, that came after it appeared that the Warhawks had picked off Peterson at third base as he wondered too far off the bag on a squeeze attempt. Peterson was called safe on the play and would eventually score the go-ahead run on a single by Tyler Hannah. The game was called with just two umpires after the third man in the crew was stranded in Atlanta due to flight issues. A sac fly by T.J. Rivera added an insurance run.
Judd Edwards drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Warhawks (22-26, 7-18) would only have one more chance in the frame as Edwards was called for interference at second base on a ground ball by Jason Hicks. The call drew heavy protest from ULM head coach Jeff Schexnaider as Troy celebrated on the victory.
The final framed ruined what was an outstanding pitching effort by ULM's Kendall Thamm as he dueled one of the nation's best starters in Troy's Tyler Ray. Thamm (0-4) was charged with the loss despite limiting the Trojans to just four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over 8.1 innings of work. It was the third straight quality start for Thamm, who struck out a career-best six batters.
Ray, who entered the weekend tied for the NCAA lead with 11 wins, took a no-decision after allowing three runs on nine hits over 7.2 innings. The junior struck out just two Warhawks and did not issue a walk.
Troy struck twice in the first inning thanks to an RBI double by Hannah and an RBI grounder by Rivera. Hannah and Rivera both finished with a pair of RBIs for the Trojans; the only four runs driven in on the night by the visitors.
ULM answered in the bottom of the frame after Aulds and Jarrett Hammond led off the inning with back-to-back singles. With the pair on the corners, Joey Rapp grounded into a double play which allowed Aulds to score.
Hannah scored an unearned run in the third after he drew a two-out walk. A soft single to left by Adam Bryant kept the inning alive and Rivera reached on the error that allowed the run to score.
The game remained 3-2 until the bottom of the sixth inning when Rapp snapped out of a 1-for-17 slump with a towering home run to right field.
Nathan Hill (4-0) was credited with the win for Troy after he blew the save in the eighth by allowing the single to Clowers.
The teams continue the series with game two on Saturday at 6 p.m.
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