BRISTOL, TN -- The Railsplitters pounded out 17 hits in Bristol, Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon, but came up short in a 13-12 loss to the King College Tornado in nonconference baseball action. With the loss, Lincoln Memorial University fell to 6-9 on the season, while King improved to 10-6 on the year with the victory.
The Railsplitters surrendered 10 combined runs in the first five frames and never recovered despite answering with 12 runs over the final seven innings of action. The Railsplitters found themselves with bases loaded in the top of the ninth, however, they came up empty to suffer a 13-12 loss and spoil a 17-hit effort by the offense.
Wes Todd (0-1) was saddled with the loss on the mound for Lincoln Memorial, as he allowed five hits and six earned runs over an inning and a third of work. The Railsplitters needed four other pitchers to complete the nine-inning contest with Seth Woods, Dillon Swaggerty, Austin Pittman and Josh Coker combining to toss the final seven and two-thirds. Of those four to visit the mound in relief, Swaggerty and Coker were the strongest performers. Swaggerty notched two scoreless innings of work in which he allowed only three hits, while Coker pitched an unblemished bottom half the eighth.
Hunter Smith contributed a two-run double in the bottom of the first and a two-run home run in the bottom of the second to go along with Garrett Cook's two-run double in the second to propel the Tornado to an early 6-0 advantage.
The Railsplitters got back into the act with a three-run outburst in the top of the third, spearheaded by Andre Rodriguez's RBI single in that frame to cut the deficit to 6-3.
A run by King in the third and fourth inning was offset by the Railsplitters' two-run rally in the top of the fourth, as Cody Baker notched a sacrifice fly out and Nick Pressley popped an RBI double in that frame.
Both teams added a pair of runs in the fifth frame, with LMU's scoring outburst headlined by a lead off blast by Andre Rodriguez. Following an uneventful sixth stanza, the Railsplitters added another run in the seventh, as Curt Fuqua scored on an error by the Tornado.
With the Railsplitters facing a 10-8 deficit, King put the game out of reach with a three-run scoring rally in the bottom the seventh. Hunter Smith was once again the culprit as he tallied a two-run double in that frame to spark the rally.
Lincoln Memorial fought back into the game, using a three-run rally in the top of the eighth to drive within striking distance. Andre Rodriguez notched a RBI single in that frame and Nolan Woody capped the scoring with a two-run single later in that stanza to make it 13-11. In the bottom of the ninth, the Railsplitters loaded the bases with two outs and plated a run on a single by Nick Morabito. However, a fly out in the final at-bat sealed a 13-12 loss for the Railsplitters.
LMU's 17-hit effort was headlined by Curt Fuqua, as he went four-for-five at the plate with three runs scored and one RBI. Andre Rodriguez finished three-for-five with two runs and three RBI, while Nick Pressley nearly matched that effort with a three-for-five day with two runs and an RBI. Nolan Woody and Nick Morabito got in on the act with two hits apiece.
Hunter Smith was the story of the afternoon for the Tornado, as he pounded out three hits in four at-bats with six RBI. Garrett Cook was also extremely productive with two hits and four RBI.
The Railsplitters return to the field on March 1st, as they are slated to head to Greeneville, Tennessee to open their South Atlantic Conference series with the Tusculum College Pioneers. Game one is set for a 6 p.m. start with a doubleheader to follow on Saturday, March 2nd.