LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Garrett Kriston nearly threw a no-hitter and the Covenant baseball team took game one 2-0 before falling in game two 1-0 to visiting Milligan on a beautiful Saturday afternoon on Lookout Mountain.
With the loss in game two, Covenant falls for the first time this season as they go to 3-1. Milligan, a NAIA member, moves its record to 4-4 on the year.
GAME ONE - Covenant 2, Milligan 0
Kriston was one out away from pitching a no-hitter until Milligan's Edwin Soto sent a single just out of the reach of shortstop KC Simons in the seventh inning. Still, the Scots came away with a 2-0 win (seven innings) in game one of the day's doubleheader.
Kriston (1-0) was masterful as he punched 10 batters and walked three in his complete-game effort. It marked the second time in the sophomore's collegiate career that he pitched a one-hitter as he also accomplished the feat last season against Ohio Christian.
Offensively, the Scots made sure to reward the pitching efforts of their teammate. Covenant jumped on the board in the bottom of the first when Scott Gillespie doubled to right field that brought home Will Cleland. The Scots would scratch one more run across in the fourth inning on a Chris Rollins infield single that allowed Forrest Hunter to score making it 2-0.
That was all the run support needed by Kriston on this day as the right-hander worked quickly and efficiently. The seven innings took only one hour and 22 minutes to complete.
Ethan Fleenor (1-2) is saddled with the loss for Milligan, but pitched well going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits.
Paul Phillips led the Scots with a 2-for-3 game one. Cleland, Gillespie and Rollins had one hit apiece.
GAME TWO - Milligan 1, Covenant 0
In another briskly played contest, Covenant fell to Milligan 1-0 in the day's second game of the doubleheader. Game duration for game two was just one hour and 37 minutes for the seven inning affair.
Milligan scored the lone run of the contest in the second inning as Brett Mercurio singled down the right field line that enabled Hunter Carpenter to scamper home from second base.
Covenant had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but could not come up with a run. Milligan's Soto threw out Simons trying to score on a Cleland single in the third inning. The Scots also got a runner to second with one out in the sixth, but again the Milligan pitching staff stymied the Covenant bats to end the potential rally.
Covenant starting pitcher Alhanon Miller (0-1) went five strong innings as he surrendered one run on three hits while striking out five, but in the end he picks up the loss. Rollins came on in relief and threw two scoreless frames.
Justin Freeman (1-0) gets the win for Milligan as he went 2.2 innings in relief of starter Jake Watts. Jake Howell gets credit for his first save of the season.
Cleland and Gillespie each went 2-for-3. Simons added the fifth hit for the Scots.
Covenant will return to action next Friday (Feb. 28) with the first game of a three-game USA South weekend series against North Carolina Wesleyan. First pitch of Friday's game is set for 2 p.m.