HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Sophomore Tyler Gaby posted a four-hit day in King's 7-3 win over Coker College in game three to conclude their set with the Cobras on Monday. The Tornado lost game one after surrendering five runs over their last two innings in a seven-inning affair, 7-6.
GAME ONE: King 6, Coker 7 (F/7)
The Tornado held a lead for a majority of game one of Monday's doubleheader but surrendered five runs over the sixth and seventh innings leading to a 7-6 loss, clinching the series for Coker. After the Cobras took an early one-run lead, King tied it up after Coker second baseman Taylor Martin committed a throwing error Hunter Smith to score on the play.
Garrett Cook (Luray, Va.) tacked on two more runs with his third home run of the season with a blast to left field to help King to a 3-1 lead before the teams swapped runs heading into the decisive sixth inning. Senior shortstop Shane Timberlake (Lynchburg, Va.) hit a two-RBI single up the middle to give King a 6-2 lead with one inning left to play.
After five solid inning on the mound, Cory Rhodes (Kissimmee, Fla.) began the sixth but got into trouble early when an error in the field put the leadoff runner on board. The sophomore allowed consecutive singles, scoring one Cobra, before striking out Rob Quattrock for the first. A second error in the field allowed one run to score on the play before the top of the Coker lineup drove two more runs home, tying the game at six, on a RBI single and sacrifice fly. Coker scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh after Danny Laperna (1-2) hit leadoff man Fico Kondla and then surrendering back-to-back singles leading to a 7-6 decision.
Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn.) and Shane Timberlake each had two hits in game one. Timberlake notched two RBI, as did Garret Cook off his two-run home run in the second inning.
GAME TWO: King 7, Coker 3 (F/9)
Reiss Stanley (Lenoir City, Tenn.) battled through six innings of work to help guide King to a 7-3 victory. The sophomore lefty earned his third win of the season after allowing five hits and one run and relying on his defense to preserve the victory.
Josh Huffman (Lynchburg, Va.) started the scoring out with a solo home run to center field in the top of the second inning off of Coker starter Tyler Witzel. Carl Roberts joined in with a two-out, run-scoring single to right field, plating Brad Blanton from second base to go up 2-1 on the Cobras.
King posted a run in the fifth and sixth innings, both with two outs in the inning, to increase their lead to three runs. Cody Snyder recorded his third hit of the day with a RBI single to center field. Brad Blanton blasted his third hit of the game, a two-out triple to deep right field that scored Tyler Gaby (Bristol, Tenn.) from second after he singled and stole a base.
After Coker drew within a run for a second time following a two-run seventh inning, Gaby returned the favor with a triple of his own when he hit the right center field gap and motoring to third on the play. Bryant Walker drove Gaby home with his third hit of the day, a single to center, before he helped put the game out of reach as part of a two-run ninth inning. Again with two outs, King rose up at the plate when Gaby drove a single to right for his fourth hit of the contest followed by a double to right by Walker. He tallied his second and third RBIs on the play before the scoring ended.
Pannel returned to the hill to record the final two outs of the game and earn his first save of the season, leading King to a 7-3 victory.
Gaby finished 4-for-5 in his only game of the series while teammate Brad Blanton went 3-for-4 with two runs and a RBI. Bryant Walker batted 3-for-5 with a trio of ribbies. The win also ended Coker's seven-game winning streak.
King (10-7, 4-2) will continue on its nine-game road trip with a regional game at Mars Hill on March 7 at 2:00 p.m. The Tornado previously defeated the Lions on Feb. 28, 10-6. King will jump back into Conference Carolinas play on March 10 at Mount Olive for a doubleheader with the Trojans at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.