King tops North Greenville for first conference win

Photo taken by Rachel Burrus

TIGERVILLE, S.C. – The King University baseball team returned to Conference Carolinas play on Friday afternoon at North Greenville University trying to bring some of the momentum from the early week's nonconference victories. Reiss Stanley turned in a solid start on the mound, and the offense scored just enough to take the 2-1 victory for their first conference win of the season.

Both Stanley and Ryan Woodring, the North Greenville starting pitcher were on their games early. Neither allowed a run until the fifth inning, and Woodring only allowed one hit through the first three frames. Stanley allowed a pair of hits in the second inning before retiring 10 of the next 11 batters he faced.

In the middle of that stretch, the King offense gave Stanley the runs he needed, plating a pair in the fifth inning. Garrett Cook struck out to start the inning, but he reached first base on a passed ball. Geoff Cieslewitz followed with a single before Justin Trent sacrificed the duo up a base with a bunt. Cook scored on a Crusader error before Tyler Gaby drove in Cieslewitz with a single to center field, giving King (9-16-1, 1-3 CC) a 2-0 lead.

Stanley ran into a bit of trouble in the sixth inning as the frame started with a hit batter and an infield single. The senior bounced back with a pair of strikeouts, and it looked as though he would escape the jam, but Mike Habas came up with a single to score one for the Crusaders (4-16, 1-3 CC). After a long delay due to an injury, Cory Rhodes relieved Stanley with two outs and Crusader runners on the corners. A walk loaded the bases, but Rhodes induced a groundball to get out of the jam, and keep King in the lead.

Alex Martin relieved Rhodes in the seventh and tossed the final three innings. Martin only allowed two hits over the final three frames and struck out two as he earned his first save of the season. Stanley struck out six over five and two-thirds innings, allowing just one run on three hits.

Gaby led the offense from the leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 with one run batted in. Six other Tornado registered a hit in the contest, including Martin in his first at bat of the season.

King and North Greenville wrap up their three game series on Saturday with a doubleheader that is schedule to start at 12:00 p.m., in Tigerville.