Jags clinch Troy series on Davis' walk-off homer

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MOBILE, Ala. – Wells Davis delivered a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift No. 25 University of South Alabama baseball to a 10-7 series-clinching win over Troy Saturday at Stanky Field.

USA (36-19, 22-8 SBC) trailed 7-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning after Troy pushed two runs across in the top of the eighth, but rallied for five runs for a come-from-behind win. A two-run home run by Colton Thomas, following a leadoff single by Dylan Hardy, tied the game at 7-7. Brendan Donovan followed with a single to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch from Troy right-hander Marc Skinner before Travis Swaggerty drew a walk. Davis then lifted an 0-1 pitch from Skinner over the left-center field wall to secure the series.

"We have been this way all year long," USA head coach Mark Calvi said. "I hate to be behind going into the bottom of the ninth, but our guys understand there are 27 outs and it's not over until that last out is recorded. You saw that today against a very good Troy team. (Marc) Skinner is their guy; he got us the other night and he's been around the block. He is a senior and a heck of a pitcher, but we got a couple of good swings off. It wasn't just Wells' home run, I'm proud of that, but the work that was put in in the eight innings leading up to that."

South Alabama jumped out to a three-run lead in the bottom of the first. Hardy and Thomas reached on consecutive singles to lead off the inning. Donovan followed with a two-run double to right field that scored Hardy and Thomas for a 2-0 Jaguar lead. A wild pitch allowed Donovan to move to third with no outs before he scored on an RBI groundout to second by Swaggerty to push the USA advantage to 3-0.

Troy (31-24, 16-14 SBC) responded with four runs in the top of the third on a one-out, two-run double down the left field line by Matt Sanders, an RBI single back up the middle by Brandon Lockridge and an RBI single to center field by Justin Friend for a 4-3 lead.

The Jaguars took a one-run lead in the bottom of the fifth when Swaggerty lifted a 1-1 pitch from Troy right-hander Cory Gill over the left-center field wall for one-out, two-run home run and 5-4 lead.

Troy tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the seventh on a one-out solo home run to left field by Brody Binder, and took a 7-5 lead in the top of the eighth on a wild pitch from Jaguar right-hander Matt Peacock and an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Chase Smartt.

Five Jaguars recorded multiple hits in the game, led by Thomas who went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Davis finished 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored, and Donovan went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Sanders finished 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored to lead the Trojans offensively.

USA will return to action Wed., May 24, when it opens play at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Statesboro, Ga.