Tornado outlast UVa-Wise

WISE, Va. – Coming off their second rout of Mars Hill University in the last week, the King University baseball team kept the offense rolling in their nonconference tilt at UVa-Wise on Tuesday afternoon. The Tornado slugged out 19 hits, and plated 14 runs for the second straight day as they outlasted the Cavaliers 14-9.

After both teams were held scoreless in the first inning, King (8-16-1) opened the scoring with three runs in the second inning. Alex Azeredo started a one-out rally when he was hit by a pitch, and Justin Trent followed with a single through the left side. After a pitching change, Tyler Gaby loaded the bases with an infield single. Stephen Mullins then came up and ripped a bases clearing double to left field, giving the Tornado a 3-0 lead.

King broke the game open in the third inning when they plated seven runs, all with two outs on eight hits. The Tornado got six different run scoring hits in the frame, while scoring their final run on a balk. Geoff Cieslewitz capped the rally with an RBI double to left field.

However, the Cavaliers (3-10) got on the board with three runs in the bottom of the frame to cut their deficit to 10-3 after three. Gaby responded with a double to right field that scored Trent in the fourth inning to extend the King lead back to nine runs.

In the fifth inning, Tyler Raymond worked a leadoff walk, and Garrett Cook followed with a double to put runners on second and third for Cieslewitz who rolled a single up the middle to score both runners and give King a 13-3 lead. UVa-Wise plated one in the bottom of the inning before the Tornado answered with one in the sixth to extend their lead back to 14-3.

At that point, the Cavaliers started to come back. UVa-Wise scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, capped by a Steven Klaiber two-RBI double. The Cavaliers then scored a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning to cut their deficit to just 14-9 after seven innings.

Nevertheless, King relief pitcher Ryan Nichols settled in to close out the 14-9 win, and earn his first save of the season. Mitch Stophel got the win after going five and one-thirds innings. He allowed seven runs, six earned on eight hits. Nichols tossed three and two-thirds innings in relief, only allowing a pair of unearned runs on four hits while striking out three.

Gaby paced the Tornado offense from the leadoff spot, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored two runs batted in. Cieslewitz and Trent both went 3-for-4 with Cieslewitz driving in three, and Trent scoring three times.

King will be in action again on Friday when they return to Conference Carolinas play at North Greenville University. First pitch for Friday's series opener is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday's doubleheader is slated to start at 12:00 p.m.