BRISTOL, Tenn. – In a game that went back-and-forth, the King University baseball team found a way to take an extra inning affair to win the series against Slippery Rock University on Sunday afternoon. The Tornado had to come back in both the bottom of the ninth and 10th innings, and ultimately took the contest 9-8 on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning.
The Tornado (5-13-1) wasted no time getting on the board as J.D. Wallace sparked a two-out rally in the bottom of the first with a single through the left side. Carl Roberts followed with a single through the right side, and Garrett Cook drove in Wallace with a well-placed single down the right field line to give King a 1-0 lead after one inning.
King stretched the lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning as Cook laced a double to left center that score Roberts who walked to start the inning. Cook later scored on a Joe Ganger sacrifice fly, giving King a three run advantage after four innings.
However, Slippery Rock (4-3) came back in the fifth inning. With two runners on, Jordan Farretta ripped a home run over the left field fence to even the score at three apiece. The Rock then took the lead in the sixth inning as Adam Urbania started the frame with a double and scored on an Alex Bell single. Bell later scored on a Logan Brown single, giving Slippery Rock a 5-3 advantage.
Cook pulled King back within one as he crushed a home run down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning before Slippery Rock plated two more runs in the seventh to take a 7-4 lead. However, King answered again in the bottom of the seventh. Alex Azeredo started the inning with a double to right center, and Tyler Gaby followed with a single and advanced to second on the throw. Wallace then dropped a double down the right filed line to score both runners and pull the Tornado back within one.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the ninth inning when Stephen Mullins tried to spark a rally. Mullins did much better than that as he crushed the third pitch he saw for his first home run as it wrapped around the left field foul pole to even the score at 7-7. The Tornado got two more runners in the inning, but couldn't plate any runs as the game went to the 10th inning.
In the 10th, Brown started a one-out rally with a single up the middle and stole second before Jake Weibley rolled a single through the left side. Gaby came up throwing from left field, but Brown barely beat the throw home to give The Rock an 8-7 advantage.
However, the Tornado had another comeback in them as Preston Douglas led off the inning with a walk. He was then sacrificed to second by Moises Soto before Gaby single up the middle. Both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch before Mullins was intentionally walked to load the bases for Wallace. The senior worked the count full and took ball four to force in the tying run and bring Roberts to the plate. The second pitch to Roberts was in the dirt and went to the backstop, allowing Gaby to score and give King the 9-8 come-from-behind win to take the weekend series.
Cook went 4-for-5, scoring twice and driving in three runs while Gaby, Mullins, Wallace and Azeredo registered two hits apiece. Wallace also drove in three runs for the Tornado. Eric Stapleton earned his first career win, allowing one run on three hits in three innings of relief. Tyler Raymond started on the mound for King and lasted five and one-thirds innings, giving up five runs on six hits.
The Tornado will be in action again on Tuesday when they travel to Mars Hill University. First pitch from Mars Hill, N.C., is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.