Unearned runs costly for Tornado Baseball

BRISTOL, Tenn. - The King College baseball allowed five unearned runs in Tuesday's 7-5 home defeat against Mars Hill (N.C.) College.

King's four-game winning streak was snapped after the game as the Tornado went to 13-9 on the season. Mars Hill left with a 15-18 mark.

Brandon King started the Mars Hill third by reaching on a fielding error. He moved up with a sacrifice bunt by Jarrord Payne and went to third on a single by Michael Bueker. When Bueker stole second King came home on the throw for the first Lion score. Bueker advanced to third after a groundout and scored on a RBI single deep in the hole on the left side off Rusty Smith's bat.

Bueker later had a RBI in the fourth when a Danny Laperna (Lake Worth, Fla.) pitch hit him with the bases loaded to make the score 3-0.

A King bunt in the top of the six was fielded by Laperna and his throw to third was high which allowed Coty Pate and Christian Diaz to score. King later scored on a groundout by Bueker.

Pate went onto finish with three of Mars Hill's nine hits.

Laperna finished with 6 2/3 innings of work with seven runs on seven hits, but only two of the runs were earned. He struck out three Lion batters, walked one and hit two more.

The Tornado got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with a sacrifice fly from Steven Mueller (Mt. Washington, Ky.). Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn.) started the inning with a single before going to third on Bryant Walker's (Knoxville, Tenn.) ground-rule double to left. Later on Walker scored on a two-out single to short by Doug Freeman (Lakeland, Fla.). On the play the ball got away Bueker and Walker was able to score a second Tornado run.

A seventh-inning triple with two outs by C.J. Stabler (Kingsport, Tenn.) pushed in Shane Timberlake (Lynchburg, Va.) who doubled earlier in the frame. Walker added a RBI single through the left side as Stabler scored the Tornado's fourth run.

Garrett Cook (Luray, Va.) started the eighth with a home run, his third of the season to make the score 7-5.

The Tornado put up a fight in the final inning with a pair of hits, but could not score.

In all King totaled 16 hits, to tie the season high, as all nine starters had at least one hit, three doubles, a triple and home run were included.

Heath Williams (Bristol, Va.), Tyler Gaby (Bristol, Tenn.), Stabler, Walker, Mueller, Freeman and Timberlake all had two-hit efforts.

Gaby and Mueller extended their hitting streaks to five games, the longest active streaks on the squad.

Jon Bullington picked up the victory after going 6 2/3 innings with four runs on a dozen hits. Tony Hearrell recorded the final three outs for the save as he struck out one and gave up a hit.

King has a three-game series at Young Harris (Ga.) College with the opener Friday at 6 p.m. with a Saturday 1 p.m. doubleheader.