Tornados fall to visiting King College, 6-4
Merriken has three hits in loss to Tornado
Brevard, N.C. - Kramer Clark had a pair of RBIs to complement a three-hit game by Zack Merriken and the Tornados loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough to offset a five-run fifth inning by visiting King College as Brevard fell at Gil Coan Field, 6-4.
Michael Bradley (0-2) took the loss for the Tornados (12-23), shaking off the five run outburst to pitch six solid innings for Brevard, striking out three. Danny LaPerna (3-3) also went six innings, allowing three unearned runs in his third win of the season. Dustin Pannell closed out the game for King (18-12) for his fifth save.
King opened up the game with a run in the top of the first. C.J. Stabler singled down the left field line with one out to advance Shane Timberlake to second and following Steven Mueller’s flyout, Timberlake came around to score on Josh Huffman’s double down the left field line.
In the third inning, Bradley retired the first two batters on groundouts before Mueller reached on a single through the left side. Huffman followed with a home run over the left field fence, landing on the batting cages behind the BC bullpen to put the score at 3-1. Doug Freeman followed with another base hit, before Garrett Cook lifted a ball up into the air, settling over the left centerfield fence for two more runs to give King a 5-1 advantage. Heath Williams concluded the scoring by following Cook’s blast with one of his own, clearing the left field fence to add another run to the total.
Brevard and King would trade scoreless innings until the bottom of the sixth when the Tornados put their first run on the board. Merriken’s one-out single gave the Tornados runners on first and second before Clark drove a hard grounder through the right side of the infield. The ball went through the King right fielder and back to the warning track, allowing both Randy O’Dell and Merriken to score, while Clark ended up on third, cutting into the lead and putting the score at 6-2. Clark would touch home in the next at-bat as Brett Brinson lifted a deep fly ball to straightaway centerfield, allowing Clark to score without a throw.
Kevin Hamilton, Jacob Koontz and Dustin Haithcox all pitched scoreless innings in relief of Bradley, setting the stage for the final Brevard at-bat in the bottom of the ninth.
Steele Myers greeted King closer Pannell with an infield single to lead off the inning and Christian Christopoulos and Zak Beard drew back-to-back walks to load the bases for the top of the BC lineup with none out. However, Pannell recovered to retire the next two BC batters on strikes. O’Dell coaxed a walk out of Pannell to bring home Myers, putting Brevard within two, but Merriken fouled out to end the game as Brevard fell to visiting King College, 6-4.
The Tornados remain home for their final South Atlantic Conference weekend as they host Lincoln Memorial University on Friday, April 8th. April 8th is "Quilt The Hill" day for the Brevard College baseball team as the Tornados invite all student, fans and supporters to come out and cheer on Brevard as they take on the visiting Railsplitters. First pitch for the nine-inning contest is set for 3 p.m.