BRISTOL, Tenn. – Playing their fourth game in three days, the King University baseball team hosted Lenoir-Rhyne University in a nonconference matchup on Tuesday afternoon. The Bears jumped out to a lead, but the Tornado came back to even the score, only to see Lenoir-Rhyne plate two runs in the eighth to take the contest 6-4.
Both pitchers were on early, Mitch Stophel for King and Thomas St. Clair for Lenoir-Rhyne cruised through the first two innings. Stophel blinked first as the Bears (10-26) got on the board in the third inning. Josh Murphy worked a bases loaded walk to score Read Brown who reached an error to start the inning. A sacrifice fly made the score 2-0 Bears after three innings.
The Tornado (12-25-1) threatened to get on the board in the fifth inning as they loaded the bases with two outs. However, a Lenoir-Rhyne pitching change proved timely as their new pitcher got a flyout to end the threat.
Lenoir-Rhyne added to their lead with a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly and RBI single to take a 4-0 lead going to the bottom of the sixth inning.
Justin Trent ignited the King offense with a bunt single down the third base line. Tyler Raymond followed with a single to center before Hunter Smith reached on an error that scored Trent. After an out, Joe Ganger single to score another run. Landon Weitekamp then came up with a clutch two out double to deep center that scored both runners and knotted the score at four after six innings.
Nevertheless, Lenoir-Rhyne regained the lead in the eighth inning on a Matthew De La Rosa RBI triple to right center. Nate Martin drove him in with a bunt single to the pitcher to make the score 6-4. The Bear pitching staff then closed out the 6-4 win, allowing a pair of hits, but no runs in the final two innings.
Stophel threw six innings for the Tornado, allowing four runs, two earned on eight hits. Ganger and Weitekamp paced the offense with two hits apiece and Weitekamp driving in a pair.
King will be in action again on Wednesday when they travel take on Carson-Newman University. The game will take place at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tenn. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.