BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King Tornado opened their home slate against the Mars Hill Lions on Tuesday afternoon. The Lions broke away from the Tornado with a four-run eighth inning, leading to an 8-2 defeat. King is now 4-3 on the young season.
King (4-3) battled to keep within two runs behind five serviceable innings on the hill by junior Mark Hode (Crystal Lake, Ill.). The Lions broke it open in the eighth inning when Matt Mayo and Phillip Carroll led the inning off with back-to-back doubles as part of a four-run inning. Evan Rogers plated the second run of the inning with a RBI single and Tommy Scala drove home Shawn Weber, who reached base on an error in the field. Jacob Rand completed the breakaway frame with a run-scoring single before Landon Weitekamp (Farmersville, Ill.) threw one pitch to retire three-hitter Tyler Shuler and close out the inning.
Mars Hill added one more run in the ninth and King was unable to mount a comeback, stranding two runners in a scoreless ninth.
King took an early 1-0 lead in the first, benefitting from an error by MHC left fielder Phillip Carroll that placed Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn./Tennessee H.S.) on third after a one-out single. Stephen Mullins (Bluff City, Tenn./Tennessee H.S.) drove Snyder home with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Tornado drew within one run prior to Mars Hill delivering their offensive outburst. In the bottom of the seventh Jose Sola (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico) belted a run-scoring single, scoring Thomas Hooker (Crystal Lake, Ill.) after the junior hit a two-out double.
King starting pitcher Mark Hode (0-1) took the loss after leaving the game down 3-1. He tossed five complete innings, allowing three runs (2 ER) on seven hits.
Thomas Timmerman (1-1) earned the win after throwing an effective 6.2 innings and allowing two runs (1 ER) and striking out three.
The Tornado now prep for a stretch of four games to be played over three days, beginning this Friday, Feb. 15, when King hosts Ohio Dominican University in doubleheader action. The Tornado and Panthers begin the day at 12 noon from the KU Baseball Complex. King will then play two games against the Glenville State Pioneers. Game one will be on Saturday at 3 p.m. and the two teams will complete the set on Sunday at 1 p.m.