BRISTOL, Tenn. - - The 2019 baseball season began with heartbreak for UVa-Wise. The Cavaliers dropped a pair of one-run games to the Tornado as King University claimed a 3-2 win in game one before rallying from a 7-1 deficit to complete the doubleheader sweep with an 8-7 triumph in the finale.
UVa-Wise (0-2) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after 2 innings in game one. Senior Gabe Wurtz doubled home junior Dawson Cagle in the first inning to put the Cavaliers out front 1-0 before senior Brett Yates scampered home on a passed ball in the third inning to give the guests a 2-0 lead.
King (2-4) scored all three of its runs in the third inning as Hunter Barbour led off the inning with a double. A hitter later, Nathan Jaye walked and the pair would score on a two-out, two-run single by Rob Sari. Junior Renwick followed with an RBI single to give the hosts a 3-2 advantage.
From there, reliever George Helbig would work out of repeated jams to keep UVa-Wise from tying the game.
The Cavs would load the bases in the fourth inning only to see Helbig induce an inning ending groundout to keep his team in front by a run.
UVa-Wise would again get a base runner in the fifth inning but would be unable to tie the game as Helbig work around a hit batter.
Hank Banner's team would put up a final fight in the seventh and final inning. Senior David Thomas lined a one-out double before Wurtz was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. Junior Tristan Peccerelli would then walk to load the bases with one out.
Yet again, Helbig would work out of trouble as a pop up and a groundout would end the threat and give the Tornado their first victory of the year.
Helbig would earn the mound victory by tossing 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Helig allowed one hit but, worked around four walks to earn his victory of 2019.
Barbour was the only King player with multiple hits as he finished with two hits and a run scored to lead a five-hit attack.
UVa-Wise picked up just four hits in the loss, Cagle, Thomas, Wurtz and Brock Smith each had a single hit.
Landon Faulkner (0-1) took the mound loss as he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander struck out six while allowing two hits and a walk in his Cavalier debut.
Game two saw the visitors from Wise jump out to a 6-0 lead after a half inning of play. Cagle, Wurtz and Smith each had an RBI while Brett Yates knocked in a pair of runs as part of the first inning offense.
King's lone run off Cavalier starter Greg Duncan came in the third inning when Jaye homered to right centerfield.
It was the lone blemish on an otherwise impressive debut for the junior right-hander. Duncan's final stat line read five innings, three hits, one run and eight strikeouts without allowing a walk.
Wurtz would get the run back in the fifth as he came home on a passed ball.
The Tornado would plate seven runs in the sixth inning to pull off the come from behind win. Sari and Barbato each had an RBI before Barbour belted a three-run homer to make it a one run game.
King tied the game when David Carnicella scored on a passed ball before taking the lead on a Tony Valdes triple.
Cagle would walk to lead off the seventh before being pinch ran for by Hunter Brown. Brown would attempt to move up 90 feet on the ball in the dirt but was thrown out for the first out of the inning. It would end any of hope of a rally as Ashton King would strike the next two hitters out to preserve the win.
King (1-0) fired 6 2/3 innings of one-hit ball to earn the mound win. The left-hander struck out eight while walking three in relief.
The two teams will finish the series with a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at noon.