BRISTOL, TN - Mother Nature left her imprint on Lincoln Memorial University's non-conference baseball bout in Bristol, Tennessee as rain pushed back the start and darkness cut the game short. The Railsplitters and King University Tornado finished in a 6-6 tie after 10 inconclusive innings on Wednesday.
Lincoln Memorial (5-4-1) used a four-run seventh inning to draw even after the Tornado (1-8-1) whipped out to a 6-2 advantage through six innings by scattering 10 of its 12 hits. Over that same span, the Railsplitters were limited to only four hits and a pair of runs.
LMU's bats were awoken loudly in the top of the seventh as the Railsplitters more than doubled their hit count with five hits and four runs. Ryan Burlison's (Romeoville, IL) two-run blast followed up a Jacob West (Maryville, TN) single, drawing the Railsplitters within two. Jean Rodriguez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) restarted the rally with a single two batters later, and Scott Miller (Knoxville, TN) drove him in with a triple to left center. Kelvin Brito (Yabucoa, Puerto Rico) collected his 10th RBI of the season to knot the game with a single in the next at-bat.
The Railsplitters nearly took the lead in the top of the eighth as Colin Buckner (Harrodsburg, KY) led off with a double, Nolan Woody (Chattanooga, TN) reached on a throwing error and Jonathan Lowe (Sidney, OH) was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. But, back-to-back ground outs and a strike out left the Railsplitters empty handed.
In the ninth and tenth frames, neither team advanced a runner past second base while King's Stephen Mullins recorded the only hit over that span with a 10th-inning single. Darkness descended on the King Baseball Field following the Tornado's inconsequential 10th frame, cutting the game short in a 6-6 stalemate.
King took an early led in the bottom of the first, erasing a Jean Rodriguez sacrifice fly with a two-run blast by Garrett Cook. The Tornado added to its lead with runs in the fourth and fifth frames. Geoff Cieslewitz's RBI double in the fourth and J.D. Wallace's RBI single in the fifth paced the Tornado scoring.
The Tornado expanded the lead to 6-2 with run-scoring hits from Joe Ganger and Tom Hooker in the bottom of the sixth. Prior to LMU's seventh-inning flourish, Jean Rodriguez accounted for LMU's only other run with an RBI triple in the fifth.
The Railsplitters trotted out seven pitchers in Wednesday's contest. Brandon Jean (Nashville, TN) made the start, allowing three hits and two runs in three innings. Ian Creager (Englewood, OH), Burlison, and Josh Coker (Murphy, NC) combined to pitch the last four innings in relief without a run allowed. Coker struck out the side in the 10th frame.
J. Rodriguez paced the Railsplitters offensively with a 3-for-4 outing that included two RBI, one triple and one run scored. Burlison finished 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, while five additional LMU batters notched a hit in the contest.
King ran out five different pitchers, and Tyler Raymond was tabbed for the start. Raymond went six innings, allowing only four hits and one earned run in the no decision. Like LMU, King's last three relievers, Ryan Nichols, Cory Rhodes and Matt Jackson, did not allow a run in three-combined innings of work.
Tom Hooker and Stephen Mullins both went 3-for-5 at the plate to lead the Tornado attack. Garrett Cook went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, while J.D. Wallace tallied two hits, a run and an RBI.
The Railsplitters return to South Atlantic Conference play this weekend, traveling to Hickory, North Carolina for a three-game league set against the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears. Game one is set for nine innings on Friday, February 21 at 6 pm.