FLORENCE, S.C. – The King Tornado offense had a slow start out of the gates as the 2013 season opened with an 11-1 loss to the Belmont Abbey Crusaders on Friday night. King was held to three hits on the first day of the Carolinas Hospital System Baseball Classic, hosted by Francis Marion University.
Belmont Abbey held a slim 1-0 lead through four innings as King's opening day starter Wesley Houser (Knoxville, Tenn.) limited the Crusaders to just three hits. Belmont Abbey's run was scored with the bases loaded on a wild pitch.
King was held without a hit until right fielder Charlie Fields (Sevierville, Tenn.) drove a single to right center field, breaking up Cody Stull's no hitter through 4.1 innings. Stull allowed only three hits to the Tornado through six innings pitched.
Belmont Abbey put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth. The first came from a two-run single by Conor Kwalwasser followed by a RBI singles from Anthony Dimino and Quinn Hawksworth. The Crusaders added to a 5-1 lead with six runs in the bottom of the seventh, spurred by two-run base hits by Emilio Pagan and Ian Vazquez.
Houser (0-1) earned the loss in his first start of the season. The junior allowed five runs (4 ER) while striking out four and walking one in 4.1 innings pitched. Stephen Mullins (Bluff City, Tenn./Tennessee H.S.) was the last Tornado to record a base hit in the team's 2013 debut.
Stull (1-0) earned the win while teammate Kyle Rogers earned a three-inning save while keeping the Tornado hitless.
King (0-1) will play host Francis Marion on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Cormell Field. They will wrap up their stay in Florence, S.C. by playing the Claflin University Panthers on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 12 noon.