“We’re not a bunting team. We’re not just trying to move guys over, we want to score.”
And score they have. 23 games into the season, the Trojans have crossed the plate 191 times, second only to South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC). They lead the conference in team batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage.
Pierce, a senior, is one of Troy’s main offensive cogs. Fellow upperclassmen Danny Collins, Trae Santos, and Tyler Vaughn join him at the top of Sun Belt offensive rankings.
Pierce (.404 batting average), Vaughn (.407), and Collins (.420) boast the second, third, and fourth batting averages in the conference respectively. Santos’s three triples are tied for the most in the SBC, and his 32 RBIs is good for second.
They understand their roles. Vaughn, a junior, understands that being the leadoff hitter makes him the offense’s table-setter. Pierce and Collins follow Vaughn as the Trojans’ 2 and 3 hitters.
“My job is to get on base,” said Vaughn. With that being said, don’t be fooled into thinking the SBC’s leader in runs scored is settling for singles. “In the off-season, we’ve been working on shortening up our swings, hitting line drive doubles.”
Though he bats second, Pierce admits, “I’m going to try to drive runs in. I’m not a table-setter.”
The same can be said for Collins, who leads the conference with 34 RBIs: “I get up there, and just think about putting the ball in the gap. It’s an awesome feeling knowing we have that green light.”
That green light has set things up for Santos as the Trojans’ clean-up hitter. He’s belted five homers, tied for third in the conference, including a two-homerun game against South Alabama on March 17th.
Troy’s hitting philosophy also helped attract arguably their best player, Collins.
Collins spent one season at Northwest Florida State College before joining the Trojans. “Coming out of [junior college], we were bunting and playing small ball. Here, coaches said ‘we’re not going to take the bat out of your hands’ and that’s exciting. It really made my interest in the program pretty high.”
With such prolific hitters, the Trojans are primed for a strong run in the Sun Belt conference. If their torrid offensive pace continues, they could well be in position for national recognition.
“I think we can surprise some people,” added Collins. One thing’s for sure, as the junior infielder puts it, “When you’ve got hitters like this, 1-through-9, that’s scary.”