King rallies late in 9-5 win over Tusculum

King rallies late in 9-5 win over Tusculum

BRISTOL, Tenn. --- The King University baseball team erupted for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat visiting Tusculum 9-5 Tuesday afternoon at the KU Baseball Field.

The Tornado (22-12) rallied from a 5-2 deficit scoring once in the fifth inning, twice in the sixth and four times in the eighth while the pitching quartet of Miguel Deguzman, Sam Ferguson, Ashton King and Octavio Mirabal shut out the Pioneers (18-19) over the final four frames.

The two teams combined for 25 hits (KU 13, TC 12), seven errors (KU 4, TC 3), 20 runners left on base (TC 10, KU 10) and four double plays on the day (TC 2, KU 2).  King's J.P. Castaneda and Hunter Barbour each went 4-for-5 for the Tornado, while Daulton Martin and Trey Hinton led the Pioneers with their 3-hit efforts.

King jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second before the Pioneers answered with a run in the third as Martin recorded his 12th double of the season and later scored on Jarel McDade's RBI single.

The Tornado regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth as Ashton King reached on a one-out walk and scored on the first of two doubles by Barbour.

Tusculum answered again with four runs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a pair of RBI doubles from McDade and Edison Cabrera, along with a Zack Finchum RBI single.

KU chipped away at the deficit thanks to a run-scoring fielder's choice from Austin Meyer in the fifth and a two-run single from Castaneda in the sixth to knot the score at 5-5.

Tusculum got the first two runners aboard in the top of the seventh when Finchum led off with a walk and Cabrera moved him up a base with his second straight hit.  But Ferguson got a strikeout of Jake Wapinsky and Hinton to ground into a double play to end the threat.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the first four King batters reached.  Coby Sale led off with a double and scored on Tony Valdes' RBI single to break the deadlock.  Castaneda reached on a bunt single and to knock TC reliever Colin Johnston out of the game. TC reliever Kent Noe walked Tyler Bailey to load the bases and threw a wild pitch to bring in Valdes with the second run of the inning.  With runners at second and third, Noe got Kevin Barbato to ground out to first base with the runners staying put.  Mitch McCain took over the mound for TC, striking out Meyer for the second out of the inning.  But Ashton King came through with a two-run single to center give King the four-run cushion.

In the ninth, reliever Octavio Mirabel retired the Pioneers in order to secure the victory.

Ashton King picked up the win in relief to go to 1-2 on the season, while Johnston (2-1) suffered his first loss in a Pioneer uniform.

Martin got on base four times for Tusculum, extending his streak to 49 consecutive games in reaching base safely.

Tusculum returns to South Atlantic Conference play this weekend for a three-game series at Lenoir-Rhyne beginning with Friday's 6 p.m. series opener in Hickory, North Carolina.