BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University baseball team opened their home season with a matchup against regional rival Lincoln Memorial University. Tyler Raymond turned in a stellar start, and the Tornado had a 6-2 lead before the Railsplitters evened the score at 6-6 in the seventh inning. Neither team was able to score in regulation or the 10th inning before the game was called due to darkness tied at 6-6.
The Railsplitters (5-4-1) opened the game with a leadoff triple in the top of the first, and Jean Rodriguez drove in Ivan Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly to give Lincoln Memorial the early 1-0 lead.
The Tornado (1-8-1) had answer in the bottom of the inning, however, as Tom Hooker started the bottom of the inning with a triple of his own. Garrett Cook followed with a home run to left field that gave King the lead. The score remained the same until the fourth inning when Geoff Cieslewitz ripped a double to right center that scored J.D. Wallace who singled earlier in the inning.
Nevertheless, the Railsplitters answered in the top of the fifth as Jean Rodriguez ripped a triple that scored an unearned run to cut their deficit to just one run at 3-2.
King added a run in the fifth on a Wallace infield single that scored Cook before the Tornado tacked on two runs in the sixth inning. Joe Ganger came up with the first two-out run scoring hit of the inning, a single up the middle that scored Hunter Smith, who started the inning with a walk. Hooker followed with a double to right field that scored Ganger to give King a 6-2 lead after six innings.
Raymond's day came to an end after six innings as he allowed two runs, one earned on four hits. The Railsplitter offense then awoke in the seventh inning as they plated four runs to even the score at six. After a leadoff single, Ryan Burlison laced a home run to left field, cutting the Lincoln Memorial deficit in half. Scott Miller then ripped an RBI triple to left center before Kelvin Brito evened the score win a run scoring infield single.
Lincoln Memorial looked to take the lead in the eighth inning as they loaded the bases with no outs. King head coach Blaine Brown then brought in Cory Rhodes to get out of the jam. The senior got the first batter to ground into a fielder's choice to third base as Stephen Mullins cut down the go-ahead run at the plate. Rhodes then got the next batter to hit a ground ball to third base where Mullins made a good play and again threw the runner out at home. Rhodes got out of the inning unscathed as he struck out the next batter on a fastball high and away to keep the game knotted at six.
Neither team threatened in the ninth inning, sending the game went to extra innings. The Railsplitters worked a pair of two-out walks in the top of the 10th inning, but Matt Jackson got a groundball to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Mullins led off with a single, but Josh Coker then struck out the next three batters to end the inning. At that point, the game was called due to darkness, and might be finished at a later date.
Hooker and Mullins paced the offense, going 3-for-5 each while Cook score twice and drove in two runs while going 2-for-4.
King will be in action again on Thursday when they host cross-town rival Virginia Intermont College. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.