Tornados and Railsplitters split pair of one-run games

HARROGATE, Tenn. – Ryan Smith’s RBI in the top of the ninth inning provided the difference in a 4-3 Game One victory for Brevard, lifting the Tornados to a doubleheader split with Lincoln Memorial in a pair of one-run games after the Railsplitters came from behind to win 2-1 in the nightcap.

Smith came to the plate with runners on the corners and nobody out in a 3-3 contest in the ninth. The senior designated hitter connected on an offering from Lincoln Memorial’s (27-19, 12-11 SAC) Dominic Morabito, shooting an opposite-field single through the right side to score Brennan Allen after the right fielder began the inning with a hit by pitch.

The Railsplitters got a leadoff single from shortstop Jean Rodriguez to begin the ninth, then moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt against Brevard’s (15-33, 5-18 SAC) Drake Black. The sophomore was undaunted, however, inducing a flyout to left and a groundout to the shortstop to preserve the victory and earn his team-leading fifth win of the season.

Black entered the game in relief of starter Kyle Pittman, who earned a no-decision after pitching into the seventh and exiting with a 3-2 lead. The junior left-hander allowed 10 hits but only gave up two runs in a gutsy performance on the mound, helping the Tornados’ arms to outduel a trio of Railsplitters.

Smith was one of three Tornados to go 2-for-5 in the game, joined by second baseman Schuyler Martire. The Tornados were outhit 12-8 in the contest but were opportunistic in taking advantage of a pair of costly Lincoln Memorial errors and a wild pitch. First baseman Hunter Donaldson led the offensive charge, going 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Brennan Allen also scored a run and notched an RBI on a groundout to the shortstop in the fifth inning.

Lincoln Memorial stranded 10 runners in the game, including leaving the bases loaded in the second when Pittman induced a flyout to center half an inning after Brevard struck for the game’s first run.

The game began a trend that continued through the second game of the doubleheader. The team with the most hits in each game was on the wrong end of the final tally. The series was hotly contested, ending in a 5-5 tie on the scoreboard and with an 18-16 advantage in hits for the hosts.

The Railsplitters notched single runs in the fifth and sixth frames before stranding the potential tying run at second base to win in come-from-behind fashion. Lincoln Memorial notched its first run on a two-out double by designated hitter H.D. Dillard in the fifth inning to knot the score. A frame later, the go-ahead run moved 90 feet away on a single, a sacrifice bunt, and a wild pitch. An RBI groundout by catcher Russell Clark gave the Railsplitters the cushion they needed for the victory.

The Tornados struck first on a third-inning RBI single by Donaldson to score Pat Quinn. The shortstop had reached on a single through the left side and was moved to third on an Allen single with one out.

Quinn finished the game 2-for-3 with the Tornados’ lone run scored. Christian Dix stole the show for the Tornados’ offense, however, recording hits in each of his three at-bats.

Lincoln Memorial’s Ethan Elliot ran his record to 10-1 on the season with a complete-game effort, allowing the one run on eight hits while recording five strikeouts. Tyler Timms was saddled with the loss after starter Tyler Luneke gave up a run on five hits through 5.0 innings of work.

Brevard will conclude the 2016 season with the rubber game of the series on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.

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