LAGRANGE, Ga. -- Sophomore Micah Mabe pitched a complete-game with a career-high 13 strikeouts and the Covenant baseball team rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to take a 4-3 win over LaGrange in game one of a three-game series.
Games two and three of the series will be played on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m.
Covenant trailed 3-2 heading into the top of the ninth inning. Will Cleland led off with a single and David Lockwood followed with a double to left field. With one out, Sterling Witt lifted a fly ball to center field that allowed Cleland to score without a throw to tie the game. Perry Rigby then put the Scots ahead for good with a single to left-center field that plated Lockwood.
Mabe (7-1) was outstanding on the mound as he picked up his seventh win of the season. The lefty suffered through a rough first inning as LaGrange tagged him for three runs on five hits. But Mabe settled down and allowed just four hits the rest of the way. Mabe gave up three runs on nine hits while striking out 13. At one point, Mabe retired 10 batters in a row and struck out the side in the seventh and the first two hitters in the eighth.
Mabe's 13 strikeouts also sets a new Covenant single-game record. Mabe and former Scots pitcher Brian Figert were previously tied for the record with 10.
LaGrange scored first with those three runs in the bottom of the first. The Panthers had four straight hits sandwiched between a run-scoring balk in the frame.
Covenant was held scoreless until the fifth inning when they pushed two runs across. Reid Pope began the rally with a single that was proceeded by a walk to Cleland and a Lockwood infield single to load the bases. Consecutive walks by Scott Gillespie and Witt scored two runs, but that was all the Scots would get.
The Scots again loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning, but again were stifled as LaGrange pitching got out of the jam with no damage. Covenant would not threaten again until its ninth inning rally.
Tyler Brooks (3-3) gets the loss for the Panthers as he allowed the go-ahead run in the ninth inning. Panthers starter Drew Williamson went five innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking six and striking out five.
Cleland, Lockwood, and Rigby each had two hits for Covenant. Cleland also scored twice and drew two walks. Witt finished with a pair of RBIs.