GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Covenant baseball team started the 2016 season on a positive note as the Scots swept a doubleheader from Greensboro with a 10-4 victory in seven innings in game one followed by a 9-4 win in the nightcap.
Although the two teams are members of the USA South, the contests were considered non-conference.
Covenant (2-0) got plenty of offense on the day with 19 runs on 20 hits. The Scots also stole 11 bases between the two games.
GAME ONE: Covenant 10, Greensboro 4
The Scots got out to a 10-0 lead after four-and-a-half innings and cruised to the season-opening win. Luke Harvey, Donny Lewis and Joel Johnson all had two hits apiece that aided starter Garrett Kriston on the mound.
Covenant scored in the top of the first as Devin Cerrato reached on an error to leadoff the game and came around to score on an RBI ground out by Caleb Bloye. The Scots added four more runs in the second as Jay Epperson and Harvey produced run-scoring hits after Stephen Kegley drove in one by reaching on an error by the Pride second baseman.
The Scots then blew the game wide open with a five-run fifth inning. Johnson, Forrest Hunter and Kegley all had RBI singles and Epperson drove in another with a sacrifice fly.
All the offense came in support of Kriston (1-0). The senior right-hander ran into trouble in the fifth inning, but picked up the win after going 4.1 innings and allowing three earned runs with nine strikeouts. Freshman Ryan Gosney tossed the final 2.2 innings and allowed just three baserunners in the process.
Kegley and Epperson had two RBIs each to lead Covenant.
Greensboro starter Dustin Minnick (0-1) gets the loss after surrendering nine runs, six earned, on seven hits in 4.1 innings. Zach Neumeister went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while JP Lisk was 2-for-3 with an RBI in the loss.
GAME TWO: Covenant 9, Greensboro 4
Johnson went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and Jonah Paul allowed one run over five innings to lead the Scots to a doubleheader sweep with a 9-4 victory in the day's second game.
Paul (1-0) got the win after giving up just three hits and one run over five innings with three strikeouts. Matt Reitz collected his first collegiate save as he went the final four innings and preserved the lead.
Down 1-0 in the second, Covenant tied the score with a Hunter sacrifice fly in the top of the second that plated Johnson. The Scots took a 2-1 lead in the third as Kerr reached in a fielder's choice that enabled Cerrato to score.
In the fifth, Covenant scored twice without the benefit of a hit. The Scots stole three bases in the inning and Harvey scampered home on a wild pitch before Kerr lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Bloye for a 4-1 lead. The same script followed in the sixth as Covenant again scored twice without a hit. Epperson scored on a passed ball and Cerrato drove in Delk with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.
Greensboro cut the lead to 6-4 heading into the eighth, but Covenant padded its lead with two runs in the eighth and one more in the ninth for the final tally. Harvey singled home two in the eighth and Kegley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth for an RBI.
Adam Murray (0-1) picks up the loss for the Pride as he gave up four runs, two earned in five innings. Mac Graham and James Wilkins had two hits apiece offensively for Greensboro.
Covenant opens a three-game weekend series against Emory & Henry on Friday, Feb. 12 at home. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
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