Sun Belt Champs: Trojans wrap up regular season baseball title on last day of conference play
As the Trojan players celebrated in the middle of the diamond at South Alabama’s Eddie Stanky Field, TROY Coach Bobby Pierce smiled.
“I’ve been so proud of this team the whole year,” the TROY coach said.
The race of the Sun Belt Conference baseball title had come down to the last day of conference action, and Pierce’s squad had just claimed its second conference crown by virtue of a 10-7 win over the Jaguars.
With the win, the Trojans finished the regular season with a 40-16 overall record, and a 21-9 mark in the Sun Belt. The title was the third overall for the Trojans with Pierce at the helm.
The Trojans advanced to regional action in Nashville where they defeated Oklahoma State in the opening game 9-2 as pitcher Tyler Ray improved his record to 12-0 on the season. The Trojans were eliminated after losses to top-seed Vanderbilt and No. 4-seed Belmont, ending their season with an overall record of 41-18.
The 2011 regular season also saw many individual accomplishments with several Trojans claiming conference honors.
Pierce was named the winner of the conference’s Ron Maestri Coach of the Year Award. Pierce led the Trojans to their best ever home record during the 2011 season with a 30-5 mark at Riddle-Pace Field, and in March, claimed his 300th win as TROY’s head coach.
Ray earned Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year honors and senior shortstop Adam Bryant was named the conference’s co-player of the year. Bryant, who became TROY’s all-time hits leader by surpassing Clint Robinson’s career mark of 253 during the season, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the ninth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Rule Four Draft.
Junior third baseman Tyler Hannah and utility man Tyson Workman joined Bryant and Ray on the All-Conference First Team. Relief pitcher Nate Hill and second baseman T.J. Rivera were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team list.