Tornado drop conference opener to Pfeiffer

Photo taken by Rachel Burrus
Photo taken by Rachel Burrus

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Following a nonconference win earlier in the week, the King University baseball team looked to keep the momentum rolling on Friday when they opened Conference Carolinas play against Pfeiffer University. The Tornado grabbed an early lead, but Falcons scored six runs in the third inning en route to the 9-3 victory.

King starting pitcher, Reiss Stanley worked around a leadoff double in the first inning to strand the runner on third and let the Tornado offense go to work. Tyler Gaby and Stephen Mullins started the inning with back-to-back singles before they both moved up a base on a J.D. Wallace fly out. Following another out, Garrett Cook came up with a clutch double down the left field line that scored both runners to give the Tornado (6-14-1, 0-1 CC) the early 2-0 lead.

Stanley allowed a pair of runners in the second, but stranded them on the corners before King got three straight singles from Justin Trent, Joe Ganger, and Tom Hooker to load the bases with no outs in the second inning. However, the Falcons (12-7, 3-1 CC) turned a line drive out into a double play, and got a ground out to end the threat.

The Pfeiffer offense erupted in the third inning as the loaded the bases with one out. Stanley then got a strikeout, and looked to get out of the frame unscathed, but Cody McKenzie worked a walk to get Pfeiffer on the board, and Dalton Lindley ripped a two-run single that give the Falcons the lead. Dylan Goodman then laced a two-run double down the left field line, and Kevin Price capped the six-run frame with a run scoring single to left center, giving Pfeiffer a 6-2 lead.

The lead remained the same until the Falcons tacked onto the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth inning.

King tallied one in the bottom of the fifth as Mullins started a two-out rally with a triple. Wallace then rolled the first pitch he saw through the left side to cut the Tornado deficit to 8-3. Carl Roberts followed with a single, and Cook walked to load the bases as the Tornado looked for a big inning. However, Pfeiffer pitcher Ethan Greene got a ground out to end the threat and keep the Falcons in the lead.

Pfeiffer added a run in the ninth inning on a Zach Scudder home run as they took the contest 9-3.

Mullins went 2-for-5 with two runs scored to lead the Tornado offense while Wallace also went 2-for-5. Trent and Hooker each went 2-for-4 at the plate. Alex Martin tossed six and one-thirds innings in relief and allowed three runs, two earned on seven hits. He also had seven strikeouts.

The same two teams meet again on Saturday. First pitch for the doubleheader is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

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