February 22, 2014

Offense leads King to sweep of Notre Dame

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University baseball team had a breakout day on Saturday when they hosted Notre Dame College (Ohio). The Tornado jumped on the Falcons early in game one en route to the 12-1 win before Cory Rhodes tossed a complete game in the nightcap as King took the sweep 10-3.

Tyler Raymond jump started the Tornado in the second inning of game one as he started the frame with a double. Tyler Gaby followed with a single and advanced to third on the throw to put runners on second and third. Geoff Cieslewitz the drove in Raymond as he reached on a fielder's choice. After Cieslewitz advanced to third, Cody Rogers drove him in with a squeeze bunt. King scored another run on a dropped fly ball to take a 3-0 lead after two innings.

The Falcons (0-2) got one run back in the top of the third inning, but King had an answer in the bottom of the frame. J.D. Wallace started the inning with a double before Raymond worked a walk. Gaby was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Cieslewitz drove in another run with a ground ball to the short stop.

King (3-9-1) broke the game open in the fourth inning as Tom Hooker drove in a run with an infield single, and Landon Weitekamp dropped down another squeeze bunt for the Tornado to score another run. Wallace extended King's lead to 7-1 with a sacrifice fly in foul territory down the right field line.

The Tornado plated four more runs in the fifth inning on singles by Cieslewitz, Rogers, and Weitekamp, and a groundout by Hooker. Garrett Cook extended the Tornado lead to 12-1 with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning that scored Rogers.

That was all the offense that Alex Martin needed as he tossed the final six innings in relief to earn his first win of the season. Martin allowed four hits and struck out six on 101 pitches. Cieslewitz led the King offense with three runs batted in, going 2-for-4, and scoring twice. Rogers went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two runs batted in while Hooker went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.

Notre Dame tried to turn the tide in the second game as they tallied a run in the first inning. The Falcons loaded the bases with two outs, and Ryan Sanders scored on a passed ball to give the Falcons lead. However, Rhodes got out of the jam as he induced a ground out to strand the bases full of Falcons.

The Tornado came back in the third inning as Weitekamp reached on an error to start the inning. After he was sacrifice to second, Hooker ripped a single to put runners on the corners with one out. Wallace followed Hooker's single with a double to right center that scored both runners and give King a 2-1 lead after three innings.

The Falcons evened the score with another unearned run in the fourth inning before King exploded for three runs on five hits in the fourth inning. Gaby crushed the first pitch of the inning deep to center field for a triple, and Cieslewitz ripped the next pitch up the middle to score Gaby and give the lead back to King. Justin Trent then came up and laced his second home run of the season to left center, giving King a 5-1 lead after four.

King manufactured three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to take the contest, 10-3. Rhodes tossed all seven innings, allowing three runs, one earned on five hits. He struck out six against just two walks. Hooker went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot while Gaby went 4-for-4 with three runs score and one run batted in. Wallace, Trent and Cieslewitz each drove in two runs.

King hosts Notre Dame again on Sunday at the King Baseball field. The doubleheader is slated to start at 12:00 p.m.