LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- David Lockwood's sharp line drive single down the third base line, just beyond a diving Piedmont third baseman, drove home Will Cleland with the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning as Covenant took a 9-8 win over Piedmont on Tuesday afternoon.
Lockwood finished 3-for-5 with two runs, but the biggest hit came in the 11th inning. Scott Gillespie went 4-for-5 and threw out a pair of runners from right field, while Perry Rigby drove in three runs for the Scots. Covenant moves to 11-3 with the victory.
The Scots trailed 8-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Lockwood and Gillespie had consecutive singles to put runners at first and third with one out. Rigby then hit a potential game-ending double play ground ball to second base, but the Piedmont infielder could not field it cleanly and everyone was safe as Lockwood crossed home with the tying run. Sterling Witt followed and had his line drive snared by the pitcher who threw to second to complete the double play sending the game into extra innings.
Both pitching staffs shut down the opponent in the 10th and the top of the 11th innings. In the bottom of the 11th, Cleland doubled to left field with one out and, after a Piedmont pitching change, Lockwood followed with a first-pitch single down the left field line scoring Cleland as the Scots dugout rushed onto the field to mob their teammates.
Alec Mitchell (2-1) threw four scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Mitchell allowed just two hits and walked one in his relief appearance. Starter Spencer Smith went five innings and surrendered four earned runs, but pitched effectively throughout. Jonah Paul also threw two innings.
Piedmont reliver Jacob Brewster (0-1) gets the loss as he allowed both the tying run and the winning run to score. Brewster struck out three in 2.1 innings. Starter Billy Mangum was solid in his start as he went four innings and gave up just two earned runs.
The game went back and forth throughout. Piedmont got on the board first in the second inning as Garrett Lovelace hit a two-run home run to left field, his second of the season.
Covenant answered with single runs in the third and fourth innings as K.C. Simons had a run-scoring double and Witt added a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2. Piedmont grabbed the lead again with three runs in the fifth as Keith Grabowski doubled home two runs and Casey Parham added an infield single and RBI to make it 5-2.
The Scots scored twice in the fifth on a Cleland RBI single and a throwing error by the Piedmont catcher on a steal that allowed Cleland to score. A Chris Rollins RBI ground out in the sixth tied the score again at 5.
Parham gave the Lions (11-9) the lead in the seventh as he singled home two runs and later scored himself as Piedmont grabbed an 8-5 edge. Covenant would not go away as Rigby tripled home two runs in the bottom of the seventh and the Scots would continue the rally in the ninth.
The 11 inning affair was the longest game, in terms of innings played, for Covenant since the Scots dropped a 12-9 decision in 11 innings to Emory on April 13, 2012.
Covenant returns to play on Friday when they host Hiwassee at 3 p.m. for a single game. The two teams split a doubleheader last Friday.