WILSON, N.C. - Sophomore Corey Rhodes tossed a complete game and No. 4 King College blasted a pair of three-run homers to knock off No. 3 seed Pfeiffer University, 9-4, in the opening game of the 2012 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament hosted by Barton College and the Wilson Tobs at historic Fleming Stadium Thursday. The Tornado (28-17) will wait to play the winner of the No. 2 Belmont Abbey/No. 5 North Greenville game on Friday at 7 p.m. The Falcons (25-24) will look to avoid elimination when they play the winner of the No. 1 Mount Olive/No. 6 Erskine game on Friday at 3 p.m.
Senior Bryant Walker and junior Josh Huffman each collected two hits and went deep for the designated visitors. The Tornado outhit Pfeiffer 14-8 with sophomore Cody Snyder and freshman Stephen Mullins both totaling three base knocks.
King jumped ahead with five runs in the top of the second that featured five hits and two walks. Walker highlighted the frame with a three-run homer to straightaway center before sophomores Tyler Gaby and Snyder added consecutive run-producing base hits.
Pfeiffer began its comeback efforts in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Preston Lyon led off with a triple off the center field wall and then scored the Falcons first run on a groundout by freshman Dalton Lindley.
An RBI-double by junior Jacob Yates plated Pfeiffer’s second run in the fifth before the designated hosts pulled to within one with a pair in the seventh. Yates drilled a one-run triple just inside the right field line to knock in the third run and then scored after the relay throw to third missed its mark.
The Tornado pulled away with four more runs in the top of the eighth. After Synder knocked in the first run of the frame, Huffman launched a three-run shot to the left field yard.
Rhodes (9-2) scattered eight hits over nine full innings and allowed just four runs (three earned). Rhodes tossed 120 pitches but was effective with five strikeouts and zero walks.
Junior starter Tyler Ring (4-4) was tagged with the loss after giving up the five runs in the second. Ring went the first five innings before four relievers covered the final four frames.