FLORENCE, S.C. – Alex Gonzalez and King University Baseball earned their first wins of the season with a 4-2 victory over nationally-ranked Francis Marion University, Saturday afternoon. Stephen Mullins led the Tornado with two hits while newcomer Stephen Todoschuck recorded two runs batted in to support a quality start by Cory Rhodes.
Rhodes, a native of Kissimmee, Fla., allowed two runs through five innings of work. After allowed one run to the Patriots via a sacrifice fly in the second, the junior cruised through the third and fourth innings with three strikeouts. He allowed only four hits in his first start of the season, leading to a no-decision.
Francis Marion took an early 2-1 lead in the fifth when Jacob Golliday hit a RBI single, scoring Isaac Davenport who led the inning off with a base hit. King (1-1) stormed back to tie the game in the bottom half of the frame when junior Stephen Todoschuck (Stoney Creek, Ontario) recorded his first hit as a Tornado, a run-scoring double, to plate Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn./Tennessee HS).
In the sixth, newcomers Jose Sola (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico) and Tom Hooker (Crystal Lake, Ill.) both drew walks from FMU reliever John Rossi (L, 0-1) before being advanced to second and third by Tyler Gaby's sacrifice bunt to the right side. King scored the go-ahead run when Patriots catcher Jacob Golliday's throw went wild when attempting to retire Snyder on a swinging strikeout, allowing Sola to score from third. Todoschuk added to the lead with a sac fly, plating his second run of the game and giving the Tornado a 4-2 lead.
The bullpen took over from there as the combination of Alex Gonzalez (Rincon, Puerto Rico) and Alex Martin (Kingston, Tenn.) retired 11 of the last 12 FMU batters over the last four innings. Gonzalez (1-0) pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings and recorded his first strikeout and win as a Tornado. Martin (S, 1), who missed the 2012 season due to injury, tossed a strong 2.2 innings and struck out two to earn the save in his return to the mound.
Francis Marion (1-1) entered the game ranked 10th in the country, according to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and second in the Southeast Region after completing the 2012 season with a 40-18 overall record.
The Tornado will wrap up their stay at the Carolinas Hospital System Baseball Classic, hosted by FMU, on Sunday, Feb. 3. King will play the Claflin University Panthers at 12 noon.