King outslugs Tusculum 12-10 in mid-week marathon

King outslugs Tusculum 12-10 in mid-week marathon

BRISTOL, Tenn. --- Austin Meyer went 3-for-4 including his game-winning two-run double in the eighth inning to lead King University to a 12-10 non-conference win over visiting Tusculum University Tuesday afternoon.

The two teams combined for 22 runs, 27 hits, 17 walks and utilized 13 pitchers in the four-hour slugfest as the Tornado (12-22) avenge last month's 19-4 throttling at the hands of the Pioneers in Greeneville.

Nine of the dozen runs scored by King in the game came with two outs including the go-ahead scores in the eighth on Meyer's two-run double to right field as part of a three-run inning.

KU's River Laskey accounted for three runs, while Hunter Barbour added two hits and drove in four RBI.  Tony Valdes, Nathan Jaye and Trader Flora also accounted for two-hit games.

Both teams came out swinging combining for 16 runs and 13 hits in the first three innings alone.

TU's Nathan Montgomery got the offense going with his one-out single in the first inning.  King responded in the bottom of the inning when Barbour belted a three-run homer to right field for a 3-1 lead.

Tusculum answered with four runs in the second with the big hit coming on Bryson Ford's three-run double as TU took the lead 5-3.  In the bottom of the second, TU starting pitcher Trevor Lloyd struck out the first two batters he faced, but back-to-back walks to Meyer and Chase Hilliard brought in reliever Christian Cuba who gave up a RBI single to Valdes.  Two runs scored on a dropped outfield fly to score two more runs and Barbour drove in his fourth RBI of the game with a single as the Tornado led 7-5.

TU tied the game at 7-7 with two runs in the top of the third inning, but King answered again with two runs scoring on back-to-back doubles from Zachary Thomas and Flora as KU regained the lead at 9-7.

After two scoreless innings, Tusculum retook the lead with three runs in the sixth thanks to a RBI double from Garrett Dupuis and a two-run homer off the bat of Wes Reynolds for a 10-9 advantage.

The score remained that way until the bottom of the eighth as Laskey led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out.  He would score the tying run on Jaye's one-out base hit.  A pinch-hit single by Kevin Barbato and a two-out walk to Flora loaded the bases to set up Meyer with his late-game heroics.

In the ninth, King pitcher Stephen Henderson retired the first two batters of the inning before giving up a double to Jarel McDade bringing pinch-hitter Bradley Evans to the plate representing the tying run.  But on the second pitch, Evan flied out to center field to end the game.

Henderson (1-0) pitched two shutout innings with a strikeout for the Tornado.  TU reliever Andrew Willis (2-4) was tagged with the loss as he went 0.2 innings, allowed four hits, three runs, one walk and a strikeout.

Ford finished the game with four RBI on the afternoon, while Daulton Martin went 1-for-3 with three walks to add to his NCAA Division II leading total of 45 bases on balls, which are the fifth-most in Tusculum history.  Martin also posted two stolen bases, while senior outfielder Seth DeHaven also had a pair of stolen bases in the game.

The Pioneers (26-16) return to South Atlantic Conference play this weekend when they host 28th-ranked Lincoln Memorial University for a three-game series beginning with Friday's 6 p.m. opener.

Tuesday was Tusculum's final road game of the regular season.  Friday's game with LMU begins a seven-game home-stand at Pioneer Park, where TU has accounted for an impressive 15-2 home record.