BURLINGTON, N.C. – The Coker Cobras pounded out 14 runs on 18 hits to defeat King University 14-11, forcing a decisive second game in the final day of play at the 2013 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament on Sunday (Apr. 28).
King was first to score, plating a run in each of the first two innings to take a 2-0 lead. Shea Bell cut the lead to just one with a solo homer in the top of the third, but the Tornado answered with a run, making it 3-1 in favor of King.
Coker took the lead, 5-3, in the top fourth thanks to an opposite field grand slam by Ernie Kirkwood. Another two runs in the top of the fifth gave the Cobras a 7-3 advantage. King plated three runs in the bottom half of the fifth, trimming the Coker lead to just one, 7-6. Five more Coker runs in the sixth made it a 12-6 game. King was not about to go down without a fight as they closed the gap with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, 12-9.
A two-run single by Kirkwood in the eighth gave the Cobras a few insurance runs and a 14-9 lead. The Tornado pushed two more across in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough as Coker held on for the 14-11 victory.
Freshman Alex Hernandez (5-2) picked up the win on the mound. He threw two innings of relief allowing three runs on three hits.
Kirkwood led the Cobras at the plate driving in six runs on two hits including a grand slam home run. Brinley Griffin drove in three runs on three hits including a double, while Zach Loraine had four hits with a double and two RBIs. Bell finished the day 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored.
Coker (33-14) will play King in the final game of the conference tournament at approximately 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The winner will be the 2013 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament Champion and will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Southeast Regional May 16-19.