Bobby Spitulski throws out the first pitch for Troy today.

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Troy Shows Up #SpitStrong On Saturday

At The Ballpark


Life can throw you a curveball. Isn’t that the saying?

Well nobody has had a bigger curve ball thrown at them than Troy infielder Bobby Spitulski. A serious car accident over Christmas break left him with a dangerous brain injury and his life in touch-and-go status for a few weeks.

But staying strong was what his family and his Trojan teammates were hoping he would do as he fought for his life for a few weeks. Remarkably, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound freshman made an unexpected recovery and a month after he was brought to the hospital following that awful accident, Spitulski walked out on his own power.

That may not sound like much, but considering his life was in the balance for a number of days, walking on his own strength was thought to be completely out of the question. But there he was, putting one foot in front of the other on the second of February, long before the doctors thought he would get out of his hospital bed.

And now, Spitulski has seen his strength and dexterity get incrementally better as the weeks have passed. Today he finally got to go out in front of his teammates and throw the first pitch of his collegiate career.

Well, ceremoniously so, that is. Spitulski, flanked by his family and his teammates, strode out to the mound before today’s Little Rock-Troy game and tossed the first pitch to fellow freshman Rigsby Mosley. A resounding strike, of course.

His supporters were clad in green t-shirts that had the phrase #SpitStrong emblazoned on them. (Green being the color of head trauma awareness). That has become the motto to help bring awareness to Spitulski’s situation and for fundraising purposes to help with the hospital bills.

Bobby Spitulski has received support from his family, friends and teammates. He also has to wear a protective helmet when out and about.

The accident occurred in January as Bobby’s father was behind the wheel on a cold January night with three other family members as passengers, driving through the mountains in western North Carolina. Due to slick roads, the Spitulski’s car collided with another car and proceeded to roll a number of times off an embankment. All four of the Spitulski’s were taken to the hospital, but three of them were released with bumps and bruises. Bobby stayed behind, having suffered significant head trauma.

The doctors actually had to cut away portions of Spitulski’s brain to help quell the swelling. That is how serious his condition was. But as mentioned above, the Trojan infielder made a remarkable recovery and was able to leave the hospital after a month. He has not yet returned to classes at Troy and his future as a baseball player is of course yet to be determined, but given his recovery so far, don’t bet against it.

“We all know about the tragic accident and the medical issues Bobby Spitulski is dealing with,” Troy head coach Mark Smartt said. “His progress has been remarkable and demonstrates his courage, determination and strength. Our players continue to draw inspiration from his strength and have committed to each other that our team must be #SpitStrong every day.”

If you want to contribute to the #SpitStrong cause and help the Spitulski’s with their medical bills, you can go to the family Facebook page by going to “Spits Prayer Group – Prayers for Bobby.”

The Troy Trojans congratulate Bobby Spitulski on his first pitch.

WHAT I SAW AT RIDDLE-PACE STADIUM
Troy made a good bounce-back from Friday’s 3-1 loss to Little Rock to even the series in another pitcher’s duel today.

LINESCORE:
UALR – 000 000 000 – 0  5  0
TROY – 002 000 00x – 2  5  0

PITCHING
WP: Daren Osby, 2-0
LP: Hayden Arnold, 0-2
Save: Rush Hixon, 1

TOP HITTERS
Road Trojans:
– Matt Merino, 1-for-4, double
– Tray Alexander, 1-for-3, walk

Home Trojans:
– Joey Denison, 1-for-4, RBI
– Brandon Lockridge, 1-for-3, stolen base

RECORDS:
– Little Rock, 11-9, 1-1 SBC
– Troy, 13-6, 1-1 SBC

Daren Osby pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up just four hits.

 

HOW IT WENT DOWN: 
In an odd way, there is not a lot to write about this Sun Belt battle, thanks to some really good pitching and a game-full of errorless defense.

Troy flingers Daren Osby and Rush Hixon combined on a five-hitter with seven Ks and just two walks to put the stops to the Little Rock offense. Osby was hitting the low-90s with regularity and was able to really bear down when he needed to. His final pitch of the day was a bases-loaded strikeout in the seventh inning when Little Rock looked primed to tie the game or even take the lead.

The only offense the home-based Trojans needed came in the third inning when Matt Sanders notched an RBI groundout and Joey Denison, who ranked third nationally in RBI entering this weekend, added an RBI single in the next at-bat to account for the two runs.

Sixteen of the seventeen frames went scoreless in today’s game. The rubber match in the series comes on Sunday.

NOTES
– Coming into this weekend the homestanding Trojans had an RPI of No. 12 in the country. After Friday’s loss to Little Rock, Troy dropped to No. 18 in the venerable rating system.

– To say that Troy has been pitching-heavy lately would be a huge understatement. The Trojan pitching staff has allowed just 13 earned runs over the past seven games, leading to a 1.86 ERA during that stretch.

– Troy’s Brandon Lockridge came into the weekend ninth in the country with 10 stolen bases. Today he added his 11th theft and has yet to be thrown out this year. Last year, Lockridge had 11 stolen bases for the entire season.

Brandon Lockridge is now perfect in stolen base attempts this season. He nabbed his 11th steal of the season here today.

 

Little Rock’s James Gunn slides into third on a wild pitch. Two UALR baserunners reached third today but were stranded there both times.

 

After his final pitch of the day, a bases-loaded strikeout, Daren Osby belts out a guttural yell.

 

Done. Finis. Over. Troy reliever Rush Hixon and catcher Chase Smartt congratulate each other after the final out.

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