BRISTOL, Tenn. – Pfeiffer University put up three runs as part of a two-out, first inning rally and sustained the lead toward a 4-2 victory in the series finale against the King Tornado on Saturday afternoon. King mounted a rally late backed by a two-run seventh, but went quietly in the final two innings in the loss.
Down 3-0 the Tornado put together a two-run seventh inning and had an opportunity to at least tie the game. Tyler Gaby (Bristol, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single into right field to bring up Stephen Mullins (Bluff City, Tenn.). Mullins worked the count full on Pfeiffer starter Jeff Barkley and parked his second home run to deep left field, bringing King within a run of the Falcons.
The Tornado had opportunities to tie the game after Bryant Walker (Knoxville, Tenn.) doubled to the right field corner, but was cut down going to third on a grounder back to the mound. Shane Timberlake reached on the fielder's choice and was caught stealing after he over slid second base and was tagged out to end the inning. King put only one runner on base from that point on and grounded into a double play in the eighth to eliminate an imminent threat.
Wesley Houser (Knoxville, Tenn.) battled through a three-run first inning but pitched the next eight inning with near flawlessness. From the second inning on, Houser (5-4) allowed five hits and never more than one in a given inning. Until the ninth, he stranded four base runners and never let one past second base. Between the fifth and eighth innings, the junior retired 11 straight hitters, doing so from the top of the lineup back through to three-spot after the lineup turned over. House struck out four and walked none over his nine innings of work.
Three of Pfeiffer's runs came in the first inning when with two outs and one runner on, the 4-5-6 hitters of the Falcon lineup put together three straight base hits. Dalton Lindley painted the third base line with a double that scored one run, followed by Cole McGraw's two RBI single up the middle. Their fourth run came unearned when a failed pickoff at first with two outs put McGraw on third where he later scored on a single by Johnny Brown.
Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn./Tennessee High) led the Tornado with three hits, all singles, against the Falcons. He now has a team-best 15 multi-hit games this season and his second three-hit game of the year. With his home run, Stephen Mullins has extended his current hitting streak to eight games.
With the loss, King is now 22-15 overall and 11-10 in league play. If the season ended today, the Tornado would own the sixth and final seed of the Conference Carolinas tournament, based on winning percentage. They currently sit fourth in the West Division with two conference series left to play against the two top teams in the West, North Greenville (25-15, 14-6) and Belmont Abbey (25-15, 15-6).