Brevard, N.C. - The Tornados split a doubleheader with the visiting Mercyhurst Lakers on Saturday afternoon, falling in the first game 6-5, while rallying late in the second game to pull out a 12-9 win. Brevard improves to 4-1 for the season while Mercyhurst opens up their 2009 campaign 1-1.
Game 1: Mercyhurst 6, Brevard 5
Ryan Toney (1-1) gave up six unearned runs in three innings of work as the Tornados defense made five errors in the game, as Brevard dropped their first game of the season. Jacob White allowed three hits in four innings work in relief, striking out three to keep the Tornados in the game.
Mercyhurst scored first in the game, putting four on the board in the top of the third on one hit. Trey Bennett walked with one out, then broke up a double play ball hit by Jonathan Dziomba sliding hard into shortstop Spencer Linn, making Linn lose grip of the ball. After Jeff Stoll walked to load the bases, Toney uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Bennett from third for the first run of the game. Adam Gray followed the pitch with a grounder to Linn at short, scoring Dziomba, before Ethan Santora homered over the bullpen in left field to end the scoring with the Lakers up 4-0.
After a 1-2-3 inning by Laker starter Steve Grife (1-0), Mercyhurst tacked on two more in the top of the fourth. Back-to-back errors by the Tornados third baseman and first baseman put Joseph Furner and Jonathan Keppler on base, before a single by Jamie Walczak drove in Furner, ending Toney’s day. White came in with two on, no outs, and after Walczak stole second, White settled down, striking out Bennett looking. A single by Dziomba drove in Keppler, but White forced Stoll to groundout and caught Adam Gray looking to end the inning with only two runs given up.
Brevard struck back in the bottom of the fourth with five runs. Matthew Pruitt led off the inning with a walk. Stephen Mullis moved him over to second with a walk after a William Scholer foul out to Stoll. Josh Miller hit a grounder to the shortstop, moving both runners into scoring position. With two outs, the Tornados offense exploded, as the Jason Merrill drove a double into the right center gap, scoring Mullis and Pruitt. A walk to Jackie Corn chased Grife from the game, as Mercyhurst turned to Ryan Schreiber. Schreiber's first four pitches sent Kellen Moman down to first with a walk, loading the bases. A wild pitch by Schreiber scored Merrill. Spencer Linn finished the scoring in the inning with a triple down the right field line past a diving Bennett, scoring Corn and Moman. However, the Tornados were down 6-5 after four innings.
The Mercyhurst bullpen and White traded zeros the rest of the way, and Walczak came in from his position in centerfield to close out the game as the Lakers took game one, 6-5.
Game 2: Brevard 12, Mercyhurst 9
The Tornados sent 17 batters to the plate in the first two innings, scoring eight runs, but had to bat around in the bottom of the sixth to clinch the win and split the doubleheader, 12-9.
Linn (1-0) came in relief of a struggling Seth Laughter to pick up his first win of the 2009 season, allowing six hits and two runs in 3.2 innings work, striking out two.
Laughter set the Lakers down in order in the first inning, striking out Bennett, before the Tornados came up. Nine batters later, Brevard had a 4-0 lead as Brice Warner opened the game with a double over Walczak’s head in center. He advanced to third on a wild pitch. A walk and stolen base by Pruitt followed by a walk issued to Scholer loaded the bases for Miller who put a single in right center to drive in two. A single by Merrill through the left side scored Scholer from third. A single by Moman with two outs drove in Miller, ending the scoring in the first inning.
Stoll scored one for the Lakers, hammering a hanging breaking ball over the left centerfield fence, but that was it for Mercyhurst in the top of the second as Laughter struck out Gray and Greg Turk out swinging.
The Tornados scored four more in the bottom of the second, going up 8-1 as Warner scored on a Mullis fielder’s choice, before Merrill put a three-run shot into the trees in right center, scoring Mullis and Miller.
A single by Bennett through the left side of the infield scored Craig Denman from second in the top of the third, but the Tornados answered in the run in the bottom of the third as Warner lined a shot over the fence in left center to put Brevard in control after three innings, 9-2.
Mercyhurst exploded for five runs in the top of the fourth, chasing Laughter from the game. Five of the first six batters of the inning reached base as Turk drove in a run with a single through the left side, then Denman dropped a base hit into right center scoring two, forcing Coach Todd Anderson to a pitching change. Linn’s first pitch hit Walczak in the back, loading the bases,and a single by Bennett drove in two more, before a double play turned by the Tornados infield allowed Linn to escape the mound up 9-8.
The Lakers tied the game up in the top of the sixth, as Dziomba crushed a double to the left field fence, scoring Walczak.
Brevard stopped the potential meltdown by scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth with Linn helping his cause with a double down the left field line, scoring Corn and Moman scored on a passed ball, but the game wasn’t over as the Lakers put two on with two out in the top of the seventh. Denman popped up to Corn at first base to end the game as the Tornados won 12-9.
Brevard and Mercyhurst conclude the weekend series on Sunday, February 15th, with a nine inning game on Gil Coan Field set to start at noon.