Baseball Scots Drop a Pair of One-Run Games at Piedmont

(photo credit: Anna Dove/Sports Information)
(photo credit: Anna Dove/Sports Information)

DEMOREST, Ga. -- After winning two one-run games last weekend, the Covenant baseball team found themselves on the losing end of two such games on Saturday against USA South foe Piedmont. In the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, the Scots nearly erased an early 5-0 hole but ultimately fell short 5-4. The second game went 14 innings before Piedmont walked off with a single in the bottom of the 14th for a 3-2 victory.

Covenant drops to 6-3 overall and 3-3 in USA South play. Piedmont improves to 7-2 both overall and in league play.

The 14 inning affair in game two sets a new Covenant modern program record for longest game played. The Scots had played two 13 inning games, including one last season.

Game 1: Piedmont 5, Covenant 4

Piedmont scored four times in the first inning, chasing Covenant starting pitcher Micah Mabe, but the Lions would have to hold off a late Scots rally to take a 5-4 victory.

Covenant trailed 5-0 entering the sixth inning but would close the gap to 5-4 after scoring four times in the frame. Scott Gillespie and Perry Rigby had back-to-back singles to start the inning and were moved up one base after a sacrifice bunt. Alex Kerr lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Gillespie and Caleb Bloye followed with an RBI single to make it 5-2. Luke Harvey then doubled home Bloye and scored himself on a Ryan Reilly run-scoring single that made it 5-4.

Covenant would put the tying run in scoring position in each of the final three innings, but Piedmont closer Allen Tokarz worked out of trouble each time to preserve the one-run win. The Scots' final chance came in the ninth after Rigby hit a one-out double but Tokarz got the final two batters to end the threat.

Mabe (1-1) lasted just two-thirds of an inning as he picks up his first loss of the year. Covenant reliever Spencer Smith saved the bullpen and kept the Scots in the game going 6.1 innings and allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts.

Piedmont's Seth George (1-0) gets the win after allowing four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. Tokarz threw the final 3.1 innings to get his first save of the season.

Rigby finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored for Covenant while Bloye went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Michael Barnes accounted for three of Piedmont's nine hits in the contest.

Game 2: Piedmont 3, Covenant 2 (14 innings)

Covenant set a modern program record for longest game, but fell to Piedmont 3-2 in 14 innings in the second game on Saturday. With the win, Piedmont takes the three-game series.

Covenant starting pitcher Jonah Paul had his best start of the year by going 6.2 innings and surrendering one run on six hits with six strikeouts. Paul worked around a bases-loaded situation in the first inning and set down seven batters in a row at one point.

Both teams scratched across a run in the third inning. Will Carlton doubled home Reilly with two outs in the top of the inning, but Piedmont answered with a Breck Davidson RBI double in the bottom half of the inning.

Piedmont grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth as Casey Parham singled home Brad Stinson, who reached on a Covenant error.

The Scots answered back in the top of the ninth. Harvey led off with a walk and reached third when Forrest Hunter's sacrifice but attempt was mishandled by the Piedmont defense. Will Cleland followed with an RBI ground out to tie the score at 2-2.

In extra innings, Covenant had its best chance to score come in the 12th when Jay Epperson worked a leadoff walk and advanced to third with two outs before being stranded there. Piedmont had a chance for a walk-off in the 13th as Barnes led off with a double, but Covenant reliever Alec Mitchell got two ground outs and a strikeout to get out of the jam.

In the 14th, Piedmont again threatened and this time came through. With the bases loaded and one away, Daniel Lindsey blooped a single down the right field line that plated Will Skidmore for the walk-off victory.

Mitchell (1-1) gets the loss but went 6.2 innings in relief two runs, one earned, on six hits with four strikeouts. Carlton went 3-for-6 with an RBI, while Reilly, Rigby and Bloye had two hits apiece.

Josh Thomas (2-0) gets the win in relief for Piedmont after throwing six innings and giving up one unearned run on two hits. Davidson went 3-for-7 with an RBI to lead the Lions offensively.

Covenant will be back home for a three-game series against USA South member William Peace beginning next Friday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.

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