Pair of one-run wins gives Tornado a sweep of USF

BRISTOL, Tenn. - King College used a last-inning score and a come-from behind rally to complete a three-game sweep of the University of St. Francis (Ind.) Saturday with wins of 5-4 and 5-4 in the doubleheader.

King improved to 13-8 with a four-game winning streak. The Tornado also owns a 4-0 mark in one-run games this season. The other two one-run games were also a doubleheader, both with 4-3 scores over Concord (W.Va.) University on Feb. 19. The three-game sweep was the first for King in a weekend series since February 2010 when the Tornado took three from West Virginia Tech.

St. Francis went to 6-14 after the games.

The game-winning run in the opener was driven in by C.J. Stabler (Kingsport, Tenn.) with a single through the left side and Tyler Gaby (Bristol, Tenn.) scored from second after he drew a one-out walk. In between Gaby and Stabler's at bats, Shane Timberlake (Lynchburg, Va.) walked for the second time in the game.

The seventh-inning win was the first time King had played in a game that was tied after six innings this season.

King seized control of game one with a four-run second inning with half the runs coming home on a double by Heath Williams (Bristol, Va.). In all the Tornado batted around with five hits, a walk and sacrifice fly from Stabler for one of the runs.

Momentum swung for the visitors after Jerrid Rydell's bunted and Colin Zwiebel scored after Doug Freeman (Kissimmee, Fla.) dropped the throw from Stabler. St. Francis tied the game with a three-run fourth that included a Zwiebel sacrifice fly and a Ben Martin RBI single. The final run was on another squeeze attempt when Rydell's bunt to Stabler was misplayed and Tyler Gregory scored the game-tying run.

St. Francis put the first two runners on in the top of the seventh which forced Nick Melcher (Orlando, Fla.) to work with runners on the corner. Derek Coverstone then lined out to Timberlake with the infield in and he tossed over to first for King's third double play of the game. Taylor Futterknecht then grounded out to second to end the threat. The line out by Futterknecht was the only time he was retired in a 2-for-3 effort.

Melcher picked up his second win of 2011 with three innings of relief work. He worked around two hits with a walk, strikeout and hit batter.

Gaby, Stabler and Williams all had two hits apiece as seven of the nine from the Tornado lineup had at least one hit.

St. Francis' Trevor Pulver completed 6 1/3 innings with five runs, all earned, on 10 hits. He struck out three with the same number of walks.

The bottom four hitters for each team combined to go 9-for-22 with King's last four batters going 5-for-12 while St. Francis' group was 4-for-10. In comparison the top five in each line up combined finished 9-for-31.

King had to rally after falling behind 3-0 after the first inning of game two.

The Tornado had a sacrifice fly from Brad Blanton in the second as Josh Huffman (Lynchburg, Va.) scored an unearned run. A two-out RBI single came from Bryant Walker (Knoxville, Tenn.) in the third after a Stabler double.

Steven Mueller (Mt. Washington, Ky.) tripled to lead off the fourth and scored on a wild pitch from Tyler Painter. Back-to-back RBI singles came from Timberlake and Gaby later in the frame to put King in front. In all King scored three fourth-inning runs with five hits as eight players came to the plate.

Huffman went onto score twice without a hit thanks to two walks.

Alex Martin (Kingston, Tenn.) tossed five innings for his first win of the season. He did not allow a run after the three in the first. He struck out three with just three hits allowed. Martin walked two and hit two Cougars. At one point eight straight batters went down in order from the first through the third inning. The only hit allowed after the first was to lead off the fourth.

David Prichard (Hamilton, Ohio) faced five batters to get 1 1/3 innings of relief work. Dustin Pannell (Aiken, S.C.) came in and finished things off with an unearned run in 2/3 innings to finish the sweep.

Timberlake, Mueller and Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn.) all had two-hit efforts.

Painter went the distance with five runs allowed on 10 hits.

Game two's victory was the first time King had won when the opponent had scored in the first inning as the Tornado lost the previous three such games.

King has a 2 p.m. contest with Mars Hill (N.C.) College at home Tuesday.