BRISTOL, Tenn. – Playing for seeding in next weekend's Conference Carolinas Tournament, the King University baseball team opened a key series with North Greenville University on Saturday. The Tornado came back to take game one of the doubleheader 3-2 in 10 innings before dropping the nightcap 3-1.
North Greenville threatened early in game one as they loaded the bases in the first inning, but Tornado pitcher Reiss Stanley escaped the jam leaving the bases loaded. The Crusaders broke through in the second inning as they scored a run on an infield single to get on the board.
The Crusaders tacked on another run in the fourth, but Alex Gonzalez escaped further damage as he stranded the bases loaded full of Crusaders.
Down to their final at bat, Steven Todoschuck ignited the Tornado offense with a leadoff single in the ninth inning. Josh Huffman and Carl Roberts were both hit by pitches to load the bases with no outs. After and out, Garrett Cook registered the big hit, a two-run single up the middle to even the score. King couldn't plate any more runs and the game went to extra innings.
King worked around a leadoff bunt in the top of the 10th to keep the score tied, and Tyler Gaby started the bottom of the inning with a single. Todoschuk walked, and Huffman dropped down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out. Stephen Mullins then dropped down a bunt single to first base that scored Gaby and gave King the 3-2 victory.
Gaby, Todoschuk and Cook paced the Tornado offense with two hits apiece while Alex Martin earned the win in relief. Martin tossed one and two thirds innings, allowing just two hits.
In game two, King (28-18, 13-10 CC) jumped ahead in the third inning. Todoschuk laced a single to right field that scored Tom Hooker who walked earlier in the inning.
However, North Greenville (17-28, 8-15 CC) answered with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Tyler Mitchell ripped a two-run home run to left field to give the Crusaders the lead. North Greenville then tacked on another run in the sixth inning to take the game 3-1.
Cook led the offense, going 2-for-3 while Todoschuk drove in King's only run.
The series will conclude on Monday on the campus of King University. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.