KODAK, Tenn. – Playing in the home of Minor League Baseball's Tennessee Smokies, the King University baseball team put on a Major League offensive display at the plate, exploding for four runs each in the first and fourth innings to spark a 15-5 win over Carson-Newman University. The Tornado hit .422 as a team in the offensive outburst and forced the Eagles to use ten different pitchers in the game.
King's Garrett Cook had one of the best offensive performances of his career, going 4-for-5 at the plate with a pair of long home runs to left field that broke the game open in the early innings. He scored two runs and knocked in another four, including one on a single through the left side in the seventh inning. He also had a bunt single and even reached via a nine-pitch walk in the second inning.
J.D. Wallace and Tyler Gaby also stood out in a game in which eight King (13-25-1) starters finished with at least one hit and seven drove in at least one run. Wallace's two-run fourth-inning bomb was one of his two hits on the day. He also finished with two runs batted in and a run scored. Gaby went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and four runs scored.
The Tornado wasted no time in jumping on Carson-Newman (17-20) starter Ryan Eberle, who was saddled with the loss after lasting just 0.2 innings and giving up four runs. Tyler Gaby rocketed the first pitch he saw from Eberle into the right center field gap for a booming double, then came in to score two pitches later on a Stephen Mullins double down the left field line.
After a flyout, King took a 2-0 lead on Hunter Smith's RBI single through the right side. Cook strode to the plate with two outs and hammered Eberle's 1-0 offering high above the left field fence, with the ball landing at the back of the wooden party deck located on the concourse.
Cook would get his second long ball of the evening as the exclamation point to King's four-run fourth inning. With three runs already in via a Tyler Raymond sacrifice fly and a two-run home run by J.D. Wallace, Cook launched his second bomb of the game on a 1-1 count that landed about 20 feet beyond his first home run. The solo shot cleared a windscreen behind the concourse and landed at the base of the hill beyond left field.
Raymond picked up his first win of the season behind a masterful pitching performance, throwing 6.1 innings and allowing three runs, which all came on a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning. He struck out three batters while walking two and exited with a 12-3 lead.
King was only shut out in one inning, scoring single runs in the second, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to go along with the four-run outbursts in the first and fourth frames and a two-spot in the ninth. The Tornado reached the 15-run plateau for the second time this season and finished one hit shy of its first 20-hit performance since May 4, 2012.
King will return to action on Friday to begin a three-game weekend series in Conference Carolinas play against Erskine College. First pitch in Due West, S.C. is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.