Tornado fall to Coker in CC Tournament title game

BURLINGTON, N.C. – After dropping their first game of the Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament on Sunday, the second game between King University and Coker College was postponed until Monday afternoon. The Tornado dug out of a 3-0 deficit, but the Cobras bounced right back to take the game 6-3.

Coker (34-14) started the second game right where they left off in game one on Sunday. Leadoff hitter Justin Blechle started the game with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. He then scored on a Zach Loraine infield single to give the Cobras the early 1-0 advantage.

The score remained the same after two innings when the rain came, and the game was postponed until Monday when the Cobras didn't skip a beat. In the third inning, Dan Meyer struck out the side before Coker scored in the bottom half. Shea Bell was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Keith Wolf singled through the right side to put two runners on. After a double steal, Brinley Griffin drove in Bell with a groundout, extending the lead to 2-0.

The Cobras tacked on another run in the fourth as Frank Suarez fouled off five straight 0-2 pitches and finally got one he liked. He laced a two-out single to right field that scored T.J. Gickowski to push the Coker lead to 3-0.

In the fifth, the King offense woke up as Hunter Smith registered a single, and Jose Sola followed with a double. However, the Tornado (31-20) couldn't push and runs across. King finally broke into the scoring column in the sixth as Stephen Mullins sparked a rally with a single through the left side. Carl Roberts followed with an infield single to put two runners on with one out. An out brought Hunter Smith to plate, and crushed and opposite field home run down the right field line to even the score at 3-3.

Nevertheless, Coker had an answer in the bottom half of the inning. With the bases loaded, Brinley Griffin rolled a full count pitch up the middle to score two and give the lead back to the Cobras. Coker plated one more in the inning to take a 6-3 lead into the seventh.

King had one runner reach base in each of the final three innings, but the Tornado couldn't push any runs across as Coker closed out the 6-3 win. The win gives Coker their first Conference Carolinas Tournament championship since 1996.

Alex Gonzalez, Josh Huffman and Tyler Gaby were named to the All-Tournament team.

Smith led the Tornado offense, going 2-for-3 with three runs batted in. King ends the season with a 31-20 record.