LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Starting pitcher Garrett Kriston threw seven shutout innings and the Covenant baseball team used a 16-hit attack to defeat visiting Averett 14-2 on Friday afternoon in USA South action.
The victory for Covenant (24-13, 17-8 USA South) puts the Scots one win closer to clinching the USA South regular season title. The Scots must win both games of Saturday's doubleheader against Averett to capture the crown.
Kriston (7-2) delivered a strong outing for Covenant. The right-hander threw 102 pitches in seven shutout innings and scattered three hits with three walks, while striking out seven. The victory is the seventh on the season for Kriston.
The Scots slowly built a comfortable lead. Covenant got on the board with a run in the second inning via a throwing error by the Averett catcher that allowed Alex Kerr to score from third. In the third inning, Chris Rollins hit his third home run of the season, a two-run bomb to left-center field, that gave the Scots a 3-0 edge. Covenant added another run in the fourth on a KC Simons RBI single to center field.
In the sixth, Scott Gillespie made it 6-0 with a two-out, two-run double down the right field line. Covenant extended the lead to 8-0 with a pair of runs in the seventh as Paul Phillips singled home Rollins and Will Carlton came around from second to score on a fielding miscue by Averett's left fielder.
Averett scored twice in the eighth off two Covenant relievers, but it could have been more as Phillips robbed Jason Carter of a run-scoring hit with a diving catch in shallow right-center field to end the rally.
Covenant then blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth with six runs to end the contest. Carlton cleared the bases with a three-run double to left field in the frame that also saw a Phillips RBI double and an RBI apiece from Simons and Gillespie. The game was called due to the run-rule.
Phillips and David Lockwood had three hits apiece, while Phillips drove in two runs and Lockwood tallied two of Covenant's seven doubles. Gillespie and Carlton each had three RBIs. Carlton, Simons and Rollins all had two hits apiece. Every Covenant starter had at least one hit in the contest.
Averett starter Timothy Coston (3-3) is tagged with the loss after allowing six runs, five earned, on nine hits in 5.2 innings. Taylor Davis led Averett (16-21, 8-16 USA South) with two hits.
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. Senior Day activities will take place between games as the team will recognize Paul Phillips, Carter Finch, David Lockwood and Chris Rollins. For live stats of both games, CLICK HERE