LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant baseball team couldn't quite recapture the same type of success it has enjoyed over the last few years in 2015. The Scots finished under .500 for the first time since 2009 with a 15-23 record and an 11-16 mark in the USA South.
Despite the tough year, Covenant still had some impressive individual performances and games. From walk-off wins to players setting career and single-game records, the 2015 year had its share of highlights.
GAME OF THE YEAR: Covenant 4, Methodist 3 (Feb. 14, 2015)
There were several memorable games in 2015, but this contest in mid-February stands out the most. Covenant was off to a 4-0 start to the year facing the eventual USA South regular season champion in Methodist. In the first game of the series, Covenant took a 2-1 victory on an Andrew Beck walk-off single in the 11th inning.
On Saturday, Beck would play the role of hero again.
Covenant fell behind 2-0 entering the bottom of the seventh before scoring two runs on RBI singles from Alex Kerr and Caleb Bloye. Methodist regained the lead at 3-2 with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Forrest Hunter led off with a single and was pinch run for by Devin Cerrato. After a sacrifice bunt and a line out, the game came down to Beck once again. The senior delivered a two-strike, walk-off, two-run home run to left field giving the Scots a 4-3 victory.
The walk-off homer was just the second in modern program history and the first since 2013.
Other games considered for the Game of the Year include: Covenant's 15-14 win at Sewanee on April 7 that saw the Scots comeback from 10 runs down; Beck's walk-off single in the 11th inning vs. Methodist on Feb. 13
It was a senior and a freshman that led the way offensively for the Scots in 2015. Scott Gillespie capped his career with another outstanding year, while freshman Caleb Bloye was impressive in his rookie campaign.
Gillespie, a second team All-USA South selection, hit .358 with six home runs and 27 RBIs on the year. He surpassed the 200 career hit plateau on April 18 and ends his career with 204 hits, second most in program history. The senior was a two-time USA South Player of the Week honoree this season garnering the award on Feb. 8 and again on April 13. Gillespie's career totals include a .349 batting average, 131 RBIs, 10 home runs, 48 doubles and 58 multi-hit games. He holds the career program record for walks with 96.
Bloye earned the program's first USA South Rookie of the Year honor after hitting .347 to go along with a home runs and 28 RBIs. The freshman led the team with 18 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI games. Bloye was named USA South Rookie of the Week on April 20.
Senior KC Simons hit over .300 for a second straight year as he finished with a .305 average. Simons tallied 18 walks and 11 stolen bases. The highlight of the year for Simons was a solo home run, the first of his career, against Berry on March 17.
Sophomore Alex Kerr came on late in the year to hit .302 with 12 RBIs. In his first year as a consistent starter, sophomore Luke Harvey compiled a .266 average and led the team with 17 steals. Senior Will Carlton was tied for third on the team with 17 RBIs to go along with a pair of home runs.
Junior Perry Rigby hit two home runs and drove in 15 at the plate. Defensively, Rigby set the program record with 11 assists in a 9-3 win over Greensboro on April 11.
On the mound, senior Micah Mabe ended his career with a 4-5 record in 12 starts and 71.2 innings. Mabe threw three complete-games and combined for one shutout. He wraps up his career second in program history in wins (17), innings (225.1), games started (39) and strikeouts per nine innings (7.47).
Junior Jonah Paul led the team with a 5-3 record. Paul made 10 starts and compiled a 4.45 ERA in 58.2 innings. Senior Spencer Smith made six starts on the year and threw his first complete-game on April 11 against Greensboro.
Check out some highlights from Covenant's sweep of Greensboro on April 11.
IN THE RANKS (NCAA rankings through May 17):
- 6: Number of sacrifice flies for Scott Gillespie, which led the USA South and was 18th in Division III.
- .966: Team fielding percentage for the year. That was second in the conference and 27th nationally.
- 74: Number of stolen bases as a team, which was second in the USA South and 54th in all of Division III
USA South Rookie of the Year
USA South All-Conference
Scott Gillespie - 2nd team
USA South All-Sportsmanship
USA South Player of the Week
Scott Gillespie - Feb. 8 & April 13
USA South Rookie of the Week
Caleb Bloye - April 20
D3baseball.com Team of the Week
Alec Mitchell - Feb. 17