BURLINGTON, N.C. – In their second game of the Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament, third seeded King University jumped on third seed Coker College early, and didn't look back. The Tornado turned three double plays behind the complete game performance by Alex Gonzalez on the mound in the 7-2 victory to stay in the winner's bracket.
It didn't take King (30-18) long to light up the scoreboard as the second batter of the game, Steven Todoschuk crushed a one-out home run over the centerfield fence that measures at 405 feet. Tyler Gaby extended the lead to 2-0 with a home run to lead off the third inning before the Tornado offense exploded.
Todoschuk restarted the rally with a walk and Garrett Cook put two runners on with two outs when he reached on an infield single. After Carl Roberts walked to load the bases, and Geoff Cieslewitz was hit with the first pitch he saw to push in another run and bring Jose Sola to the plate. Sola ripped the 2-2 offering over the leftfield fence for his first home run of the season, a grand slam, to give the Tornado the 7-0 advantage.
Coker (30-14) got on the board in the bottom of the inning as Keith Wolf rolled a one-out single through the left side that scored Frank Suarez. However, Gonzalez got a fly out and strikeout to end the inning and keep King in the lead.
That was the only blemish on Gonzalez's line until ninth when Coker pushed across another run and had the bases loaded. However, the junior got a groundout on his 145th pitch to give the Tornado the 7-2 win and keep King in the winner's bracket. Gonzalez struck out five while scattering seven hits in second complete game of the season.
Defensively behind Gonzalez, the Tornado turned three double plays, coming in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Cook paced the Tornado offense going 3-for-4 while Gaby, Todoschuk and Sola all recording two hits apiece. Sola tallied a game-high four runs batted in with his first home run of the season.
King will face No. 1 seed, and nationally top-ranked Mount Olive College in the winner's bracket of the Conference Carolinas Tournament tomorrow. First pitch from Burlington, N.C. is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. The winner will advance to Sunday's championship game while the loser will have to play later in the day.