NEWBERRY, S.C. – The King University baseball team opened their 2014 season on Saturday with a tough road doubleheader at Newberry College. The Tornado dropped a tough 3-2 decision on a walk-off in game one before Newberry took the nightcap 8-2.
Newberry (2-0) had the game's first scoring chance in the second inning as they put runners on first and second with now outs. However, Cory Rhodes worked out of the jam, getting back-to-back groundouts before striking out Robert Kosch to end the threat.
The Tornado (0-2) broke through in the fourth inning as Geoff Cieslewitz started the frame with a single to center field. After J.D. Wallace sacrificed him to second with a bunt, Tyler Raymond drove Cieslewitz in with a single to center field to give King a 1-0 lead.
Nevertheless, the Wolves responded with a run on two hits in the bottom half of the inning. With two runners on, Kosch ripped a single to center that scored JoJo Bradley to even the score. Rhodes stranded both runners to keep the score knotted a one after four innings.
King grabbed the lead again in the fifth inning as Joe Ganger laced a leadoff single to center, and Tom Hooker followed with a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. Following a walk, Justin Trent ripped a single through the left side to score Ganger and give the lead back to King. Newberry then got back-to-back outs to strand two runners and keep their deficit at 2-1.
The Wolves again had an answer, however. In the seventh inning, a Ryan Cranmer single to center scored Kosch to even the score at two. The Tornado bullpen then stranded a pair of Newberry runners to give the offense a chance to regain the lead. However, Newberry's pitching held King's offense down over the final innings, giving their offense a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.
In the ninth inning, the Wolves' Wesley Camp earned a leadoff walk and stole second. Jermale Paige was hit by a pitch and Cranmer walked to load the bases. Albert Baur then earned another walk to force in the game-winning run and give Newberry the 3-2 win.
Raymond and Ganger paced the Tornado offense with two hits apiece while Raymond and Trent drove in the Tornado runs. Rhodes tossed six and one-thirds innings and allowed two runs on four hits while striking out five in the no decision.
King looked to bounce back in game two as Garrett Cook gave the Tornado the early lead with his first home run of the season. However, Newberry again had an answer, this time in the second inning. Brandon Sheridan drove in Bradley, who reached on an infield single to start the frame, to even the score. After a single put two runners on, Alex Martin induced a ground ball to Logan Schmidt at second base. Schmidt got the first out at second and Trent turned the double play to get King out of the inning.
The Tornado regained the lead in the fourth inning as Hunter Smith sparked the offense with a one-out double to right field. After an out, and a walk, Carl Roberts came up with a two-out hit. He ripped a single through the left side that scored Smith and gave King a 2-1 lead.
However, the Newberry offense answered again, this time with a flurry of runs. The Wolves scored three runs, two on a Cranmer single in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. In the sixth, the Wolves tacked on four runs, two a Baur triple to right field to take a commanding 8-2 lead. The Tornado couldn't comeback in the bottom of the frame as Newberry took the game 8-2.
Roberts led the Tornado offense, going 2-for-2 at the plate with one run batted in.
The series wraps up tomorrow at Newberry. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.