March 19, 2014

Cobras comeback to shock Tornado

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University baseball team tried to rebound from yesterday's loss when they hosted cross-town rival Virginia Intermont College on Wednesday. The Tornado jumped out to an 8-1 lead before the Cobras came storming back with 12 runs in the final four innings. The Cobras had to hold off a late rally by King to escape with the 13-12 win.

Virginia Intermont (12-13) started the scoring in the second inning as Adrian Rivera worked a bases loaded walk. The Tornado (11-18-1) answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning as Cody Rogers drove in Carl Roberts with a groundout to second base.

King looked to open the game up in the third inning as J.D. Wallace scored on a pair of wild pitches after he ripped a one-out single. Tyler Raymond followed with a single through the right side to restart the rally. He then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Roberts drove him in with a single up the middle to give King a 3-1 lead after three innings.

The Tornado added a run on a Gaby triple that scored Rogers in the fourth before the offense erupted in the fifth inning. Raymond sparked the rally with a one-out walk and stole second. Garrett Cook followed with a walk before Roberts loaded the bases with a single down the left field line. After another wild pitch scored a run, Hunter Smith crushed a towering home run to left center, stretching the Tornado lead to 8-1 after five innings.

However, the Cobra offense started to heat up in the sixth inning, plating a pair of runs. Virginia Intermont scored one more in the seventh before exploding for five tallies in the eighth inning. Seth Davis drove in the first run of the frame with an infield single before the Cobras loaded the bases. At that point, the Tornado went to the bullpen to bring in Cory Rhodes to get out of the jam. Rhodes struck out the first batter he faced, and it looked as though he would get out of the inning. However, Virginia Intermont followed the strikeout with a single, and a bases loaded walk to score two runs and pull the Cobras within one. Fabian Placencia came up with the big hit for the Cobras, a two-run double down the left field line, giving Virginia Intermont a 9-8 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Rogers tried to spark the King offense with a leadoff single, but was then caught stealing. Gaby then worked a walk and advanced on a wild pitch before Wallace drove him in with a two-out single to knot the score at 9-9 going to the ninth.

The Cobras loaded the bases with a two-out infield single in the top of the ninth. It looked like King would escape the jam as Jake Portugal induced a groundball, but the play was not made, allowing the Cobras to plate the go-ahead run. Virginia Intermont then tacked on three more runs, two on a Placencia single to left going to the bottom of the ninth.

Nevertheless, King had one last rally as Cook and Roberts started the inning with back-to-back walks. Justin Trent followed with a double to right field that scored one and put runners on second and third with no outs. After a double play Rogers drove in Roberts to pull King within two. Gaby followed with a double to right center that scored Rogers, and put the tying run on second base. However, the Cobras brought in a new pitcher who induced a groundout to give Virginia Intermont the 13-12 win.

Mitch Stophel started on the mound for King and tossed five and one-thirds innings. He allowed three runs, two earned on five hits while striking out three. Rogers paced the offense going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.

The Tornado return to Conference Carolinas play on Friday when they host Belmont Abbey College. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.