by Doug Page
BRISTOL, TENN. – Senior right-hander Trent Fennell fanned a season-high 12 batters as the Barton College Bulldogs defeated the King University Tornado 4-1 in game two of a doubleheader on Friday. The Tornado recorded a 9-0 victory in game one as both teams open Conference Carolinas play with a 1-1 mark.
The Bulldogs (7-9, 1-1) tallied eight hits and plated three runs in the top of the first inning en route to their first league win of the season. The Tornado (8-4, 1-1) exploded offensively for nine runs on 17 hits in a game one shutout against BC.
Barton was paced offensively in game two by junior Troy Maslowski, who went 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles and two runs batted in. Freshman Colby Warren and junior Gatlin Pate each went 2-for-3 at the plate in game two as Warren tallied one RBI. Freshman Mason Cooper recorded the other hit of game two for BC, going 1-for-3 with one RBI.
J.P. Castaneda recorded a four-hit day for the Tornado, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored in game one. Bubba Ruiz also tallied four hits on the day for King, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored. Kevin Barbato notched a three-hit game in the opener for the Tornado as he plated one run and scored one run.
Junior Dylan Ward kept things close in the early going for BC as his only blemish through the first three innings would be a run-scoring triple off the bat of Barbato in the bottom of the second inning. Barton looked to counter offensively in the top of the third inning as freshman Charlie Horne started the frame with a walk. Redshirt freshman Danny Rodriguez followed with a single to left field to put a pair of runners on base for BC. The Tornado would escape any damage in the frame as King starter Grant Boyd retired the next three batters.
Leading 1-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning. The Tornado would strike for a pair of runs against Ward to up their lead to 3-0. Run-scoring singles from Castaneda and Ruiz in the frame put some breathing room between the two sides on the scoreboard.
The big hit for King in the bottom of the sixth inning would be a double to right-center that plated a pair of runs to extend the Tornado lead to 6-0. Barton would make a pitching change in the seventh as freshman Clay Walters took over on the mound for Ward. King added two more runs to their total in the frame against Walters as Ashton King laced a double to plate Ruiz. Hunter Barbour then delivered a sacrifice fly to center to score King and give the Tornado an 8-0 lead.
Freshman Jabe Montgomery tossed the bottom of the eighth for the Bulldogs and would surrender one run on a pair of hits. Ruiz came through with a single to left field to give King a 9-0 lead. Ward (1-2) was handed with the loss after allowing six runs on 12 hits with five strikeouts through six innings of work. Boyd (3-1) earned the win for the Tornado and scattered five hits in the complete-game effort. Boyd recorded 11 strikeouts in the game and issued a pair of walks.
Game two started off on the right foot for the Bulldogs, who plated three runs in the top of the first inning against King starter Octavio Mirabal. Maslowski started the scoring for BC with a double that would plate sophomore Chase Riker and Pate to make it 2-0. Warren followed with a single to center to plate Maslowski and make it 3-0.
The Bulldogs gave Fennell a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth as freshman Mason Cooper singled to right-center to score Riker. Mirabal would work out of some trouble for the Tornado as Barton loaded the bases with only one out. King would get out of the inning with a grounder to the shortstop.
Fennell, who worked at his own pace for BC would allow a run in the bottom of the fourth frame as Castaneda singled to right field to plate Tyler Bailey.
The Bulldogs defense settled in behind Fennell, who did his part in the sixth inning by striking out the side. Fennell (3-1) scattered three hits over seven innings of work and yielded just one run. Fennell didn't allow a walk in the contest for BC and fanned 12 of the 25 batters that he faced. Mirabal (3-1) suffered the loss for the Tornado after allowing four runs off eight hits over 6.1 innings of work. Mirabal walked a pair of batters and fanned nine while also hitting one batter.
Barton will play one game on Saturday beginning at 12 p.m. to conclude the series with King. The Bulldogs return home on Feb. 27 to host Chowan for a single game beginning at 2 p.m.