The Tornado won game 1, 8-5, behind Hunter Smith's four-hit game. Ohio Dominican came back in game two with a 9-3 win.
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Hunter Smith went 4-for-5 with 2 RBI and Corey Rhodes gave up just two earned runs in five innings to lead King to an 8-5 win in the first game of Friday's doubleheader against Ohio Dominican. The Panthers responded in game two with by scoring two runs in each of the first four innings en route to a 9-3 victory to split the doubleheader.
Game 1 – King 8, Ohio Dominican 5
King raced out to a 5-0 lead after four innings and went on to defeat Ohio Dominican 8-5 in game one of the doubleheader. Four Tornado hitters had at least two hits in the win.
Junior Hunter Smith (Bristol, Tenn.) got the Tornado going early with a two-RBI single to center field in the first inning. Smith went 4-for-5 at the plate during the game. The Tornado scoring continued in the second when junior Jose Sola (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico) singled through the left side. An error by the Panthers allowed junior Tyler Gaby (Bristol, Tenn.) to score and Sola to advance to third. Sola then scored on a sac-fly by junior Garrett Cook (Luray, Va.) to make it 4-0 King. Cook was 2-for-4 in game one with that RBI and scored two runs.
King pushed the lead to 5-0 in the fourth when freshman Geoffrey Cieslewitz scored on an RBI groundout by sophomore Stephen Mullins (Bluff City, Tenn.). Cieslewitz went 3-for-4 with a double in game one.
The Panthers tried to claw their way back as Christian Prince hit a two-run triple in the fifth to cut the deficit to 5-2. Vince Bartolone then hit a single through the left side to score Prince and make it 5-3.
Junior Cory Rhodes (Kissimmee, Fla.) was still in trouble in the fifth with no outs and runners on first and second. Rhodes limited the damage though by getting a fly out, a strikeout, and a groundout to end the threat. That would be the last work for Rhodes as he earned the win to move to 2-0 on the young season. Rhodes pitched five innings and gave up four hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out six. Rhodes has an ERA of just 1.89 in 19 innings of work so far this year.
King scored a single run in the bottom-of-the-fifth to push the lead to 6-3. Ohio Dominican scored on a Tornado error in the eighth to make it a two-run game again at 6-4. However, the Tornado plated two unearned runs in their half of the eighth to make it an 8-4 game.
Sola finished the Panthers off in the first game by pitching the ninth, giving up a single run, to make the final score, 8-5, King. Offensively, Sola went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.
Cole Carpenter (0-1) took the loss for the Panthers and went four innings, giving up eight hits, five runs (two earned), and two walks to go along with three strikeouts.
Game 2 – Ohio Dominican 9, King 3 (7 Innings)
The Panthers fought back in game two by scoring two runs in each of the first four innings and never looked back and won by the final count of 9-3.
Ryan Rovnak hit an RBI-single in the first to get the Panthers scoring going. Rovnak later scored on an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tisdale. Jossue Delgado plated two on a double to left-center in the second to make it 4-0. Delgado paced the Panthers in game two by going 2-for-3 and scoring two runs. The Panthers plated two more in each of the next two innings to make it 8-0 after the top-of-the-fourth.
That would be all the run support Ohio Dominican pitching needed as starter Nick Venditti went four innings and gave up just one earned run. Alberto Canales pitched the last three innings for the Panthers to pick up his first win of the year by giving up two runs (one earned) in his work.
Sophomore Alex Martin (Kingston, Tenn.) took the loss for the Tornado in game two. Martin pitched three innings and gave up six runs on eight hits.
The Tornado did have some hitters who stayed hot in game two though. Cieslewitz went 3-for-4 with an RBI-single to put the Tornado on the board in the fourth. Cieslewitz also had a double in game two and went a combined 6-for-8 in the two games.
Cook had two more hits in game two to go a combined 4-of-7 for the day. Smith added two hits in the second game and was 6-for-9 on Friday.
Friday's games were the first of the season for the Panthers who are 1-1. With the split, the Tornado now sit at 5-4 this season.
The Tornado are back in action at home on Saturday, February 16 against Glenville State with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.