LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Paul Phillips went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs and the Covenant baseball team broke an 8-8 tie with four runs in the bottom of the eighth to pull out a 12-8 win over Tennessee Temple on Monday afternoon.
Phillips launched his first home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth, a two-run shot to right field, that extended the Covenant lead to 8-3. After Tennessee Temple rallied with five runs in the top of the eighth, it was Phillips that produced the go-ahead run in the bottom of the frame with a triple to left-center field that plated Luke Harvey from second.
Covenant (23-13) trailed 2-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth as Tennessee Temple starter Dylan Massengill kept the Scots off-balance at the plate. In the fifth, Covenant scored six runs to grab a 6-2 lead. Z Arima drew a bases-loaded walk to start the scoring while KC Simons followed with an RBI single and Will Cleland drove in two with a double to right field. Scott Gillespie had an RBI ground out and David Lockwood capped the inning with an RBI single to left.
Tennessee Temple (11-20) scored five runs, all with two outs, in the top of the eighth to pull even at 8-8 but Covenant responded quickly in its half of the inning. After Phillips' triple that gave the Scots a 9-8 lead, Cleland doubled home Phillips and that was followed by an Andrew Beck RBI single and a Perry Rigby RBI double to make it 12-8.
Simons, Cleland, Rigby, Lockwood and Chris Rollins each had two hits for Covenant. Cleland added three RBIs and two runs scored. Rollins (4-0) is credited with the pitching victory as he threw the final 1.1 innings in relief and allowed one run on two hits. Starting pitcher Jordan Lester went four innings giving up one run on four hits.
Massengill takes the loss for the visiting Crusaders. The right-hander threw 130 pitches in 7.2 innings of work allowing 12 runs, all earned, with six strikeouts. Four different players had two hits apiece for Tennessee Temple while Trey Hill and Austin Layne had two RBIs each.
Covenant will finish the regular season this weekend with a three-game USA South series with Averett beginning on Friday at 4 p.m. The two teams will then play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. With wins in all three games, Covenant will win the regular season USA South title.