LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Sophomore Micah Mabe tossed seven strong innings, but Covenant could not hold on to a ninth inning lead as visiting Huntingdon rallied to claim game one of the three-game series 6-4 on Friday afternoon.
Mabe surrendered one earned run on four hits while striking out seven on 104 pitches. The left-hander started the eighth inning, but was removed after allowing the leadoff hitter to reach. Still, Mabe lowered his ERA from 2.35 to 2.21 on the season.
Covenant fell behind 1-0 after the first inning when Huntingdon's Joseph Odom connected on his 12th home run of the season. After going three innings without a run, the Scots struck for three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Scott Gillespie reached on an infield single and Perry Rigby followed with a walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Sterling Witt then launched a ball deep that hit near the top of the fence in right field for a triple to drive in both Gillespie and Rigby. Two batters later, Chris Rollins singled to left field to bring in Witt and give the Scots a 3-1 advantage.
Huntingdon closed the gap to 3-2 in the sixth with an unearned run on Odom's RBI ground out. Covenant added an extra run in its half of the eighth as Will Cleland led off the frame with a triple off the center field fence and Gillespie followed with an RBI double down the left field line to make it 4-2.
But Huntingdon would strike for four runs on two hits, plus two costly Covenant errors, in the ninth to take a 6-4 lead.
Alec Mitchell (5-2) gets the loss for Covenant as he allowed three runs, one earned, in 1.1 innings of relief. Huntingdon reliever Joseph Fincher (3-2) picks up the win for the Hawks as he threw a scoreless eighth inning. Neil Lawler is credited with his fourth save of the season.
Witt went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs for Covenant with Gillespie adding two hits in four at-bats and an RBI and run scored.
Covenant (22-8) and Huntingdon (21-9) will play games two and three of the series on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. Both games will be nine innings. Between the first and second game, Covenant will hold its Senior Day recognition as Sterling Witt, Rob Willett, and junior Ben Mason will be honored.