BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Tornado offense could not convert with the bases loaded on multiple occasions in their game one loss to Erskine, 9-3, in which a five-run inning late in the game separated the two teams. A pitcher's duel brewed in game two with one swing of the bat making the difference in the Fleet's 1-0 win over King, clinching the series after Friday's doubleheader.
GAME ONE: King 3, Erskine 9
Reiss Stanley (Lenoir City, Tenn.) pitched six solid innings against the Fleet where only a three-run home run kept the Tornado from taking a lead late into the game. King held an early 3-0 advantage after three innings, but Chase Corn's three-run shot tied the game in the fifth.
Bryant Walker (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit his second home run of the season off of Erskine starter Robbie Brown in the second inning, scoring Stephen Mullins on the play. In the following frame, Tyler Gaby (Bristol, Tenn.) posted his eighth extra-base hit in as many games with a double and was driven home by a Josh Huffman single to take a 3-0 lead.
Corn's homer in the fourth tied the game at three, but a two-out, RBI double by Luke Danielewicz plated the go-ahead run for the Fleet prior to a five-run eighth to seal the game for the hosts. Erskine put their first five hitters on base and batted around while notching five singles in the frame. Stanley (4-2) took the loss after throwing 7.0 innings and allowing five runs before turning it over to the bullpen. The sophomore struck out seven Erskine hitters while walking none.
Stephen Mullins (Bluff City, Tenn.) led the Tornado with a three-hit game, finishing 3-for-5 with a run scored.
GAME TWO: King 0, Erskine 1 (F/7)
Erskine pitcher Heath Gray tossed a complete game shutout against the Tornado in game two, limiting King to just four hits through seven innings of work. He struck out four and walked none and never allowed more than a single in the outing.
The only run scored came from a Logan Galliher solo home run in the third inning hit off of King starter Cory Rhodes (Kissimmee, Fla.). Rhodes (4-2) got out of jams in the first and sixth innings to limit the damage but the offense did not support the sophomore righty. He allowed only three hits and a run while striking out three while tossing all seven innings.
Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn.) led King with two of the team's four hits, both singles, and was stranded in scoring position in each at bat. Doug Freeman (Lakeland, Fla.) pegged two runners attempting to steal second base in the first inning to help quell an early threat by the Fleet.
The Flying Fleet and Tornado will conclude the three-game series on Saturday, March 22, at 12:00 p.m. from Grier Field (Due West, S.C.). King falls to 18-11 overall and 8-6 in Conference Carolinas play. The loss also snapped a six-game winning streak for the Tornado.