BRISTOL, Tenn. – Wednesday's baseball game between King University and Concord University looked like it was going to be a pitcher's duel early. However, both offenses woke up late in the game, and the Tornado came back from a 9-2 deficit to win the non-conference contest 12-11.
The Tornado (20-15) used a pair of safety squeezes to get on the board in the fourth and fifth innings. With runners on the corners, Tyler Gaby laid down a bunt down the first base line to score Steven Todoschuk and give King the 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning Logan Schmidt dropped down a bunt that scored Carl Roberts to stretch the lead to 2-0.
However, the Concord (17-14) offense exploded in the sixth inning. The Mountain Lions plated four runs, three of which were unearned in the frame. Concord then tacked on five more runs in the sixth inning as TJ Brockway drew a bases loaded walk and Jacob Mays drove in two with a single to center field. Devin Smith capped the Mountain Lion rally with a sacrifice fly that scored Brockway and gave Concord a 9-2 advantage.
It didn't take the Tornado long to answer, however, as they erupted for six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Todoschuk and Josh Huffman recorded consecutive run scoring singles and Carl Roberts capped the rally with a double to center field that scored Geoffrey Cieslewitz and pull King within a run at 9-8.
Alex Martin worked around a two-out double by Concord in the top of the eighth to bring the Tornado back to the plate. Todoschuk sparked a rally that saw four straight Tornado hits on four straight pitches, with a double to left center. Huffman followed with a double to center field, evening the score at nine, and Gaby laced a single to right center to give King the lead. Hunter Smith ended the barrage and forced a Mountain Lion pitching change with a single down the right field line. Anthony McCoy capped the four-run rally with another safety squeeze that scored Gaby and gave King a 12-9 lead.
As it turned out, the Tornado need all of those runs as the Mountain Lions plated two runs on a Smith two-run double to right center and cut the deficit to one in the ninth inning. Nevertheless, Martin got the final two outs on a line drive double play back to the mound, giving the Tornado their 20th win of the season, 12-11.
Todoschuk, Huffman and Gaby paced the Tornado offense with three hits apiece. Todoschuk scored three runs, and drove in two while Huffman score twice and drove in two, and Gaby recorded three runs batted in and two runs scored. Smith and Roberts chipped in with two hits apiece. Martin worked the final two innings on the hill for the Tornado and earned his second win of the season.
King returns to Conference Carolinas play this weekend when they travel to Limestone College. Game one is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Friday, while Saturday's doubleheader is slated to start at 12:00 p.m.