GAFFNEY, S.C. – The King University baseball team set the tone of their Conference Carolinas series at Limestone College early, with two runs in the first inning of game one. The Tornado went on to take game 9-4 before their offense exploded in the second game. After plating seven runs in the first inning of game two, King cruised to the 16-5 victory for the doubleheader sweep.
Hunter Smith opened the scoring early with a two-run home run to left field to give King the early advantage in game one. However, the Saints (19-18, 7-12 CC) bounced right back and plated two runs in the bottom of the inning to even the score at two.
Tornado pitcher Reiss Stanley stranded the bases loaded in the second inning, and Steven Todoschuk gave the lead back to King with a home run to lead off the third inning. The Tornado extended the lead with two runs in the sixth inning, the first coming on a Jose Sola bunt single that scored Carl Roberts. King stretched the lead to six with three runs in the seventh inning. Following Smith sacrifice fly, Roberts laced a home run to right center to give King an 8-2 lead.
The lead swelled to 9-2 on a Tom Hooker run scoring single in the eighth, before Limestone cut into the deficit in the eighth. The Saints plated two runs, but Tornado pitcher Alex Martin minimized the damage in the eighth, and Wes Houser worked around one base runner in the ninth to give King the 9-4 win.
Roberts led the team with three hits in five at bats and two runs scored. Tyler Gaby, Hooker, and Garrett Cook all recorded two hits in the victory while Smith drove in a team-high three runs. Stanley got the start on the bump and allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of work.
The Tornado offense stayed white hot in game two, scoring seven runs in the first inning. Landon Weitekamp laced a two-run home run to center field to give King a 5-0 lead, and Hooker capped the scoring with a two-run, two-out single through the right side.
King (22-15, 9-8 CC) the lead with a run in the third inning before erupting again in the fourth inning. Cook and Weitekamp recorded back-to-back run scoring singles early in the inning before Alex Azeredo drove in Sola with a single up the middle. Azeredo scored on a Gaby triple to left center, giving a King a 14-3 lead.
Weitekamp plated King's 15th and 16th runs with a two-out double in the fifth, giving the Tornado the 16-5 win.
Weitekamp paced the King offense, going 3-for-4, driving in a team-high five runs and scoring twice. Sola also went 3-for-4, and scored three runs. Gaby, Todoschuk, Cook and Azeredo all registered two hits apiece. Corey Rhodes started on the Hill for the Tornado and gave up four runs in five innings of work.
The Tornado go for the series sweep tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. at Limestone.