LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Matt Reitz tossed seven strong innings and the Covenant baseball team used big hits from Trenton Nobles and Caleb Bloye to defeat visiting Piedmont 5-2 in the USA South series opener on Thursday.
Covenant (19-14, 8-7 USA South) has won eight of its last nine games and moves to five games over .500 for the second time this year. Piedmont drops to 18-15 overall and 5-11 in the USA South.
After the first two batters of the game for Piedmont, things did not look good for Reitz and the Scots. Piedmont's Will Skidmore took the first pitch of the game and drove it into the right-center field gap for a triple. Brady Ballstadt followed with an RBI single to put the visiting Lions ahead 1-0 after two hitters. Ballstadt later came around to score on a Breck Davidson RBI ground out to make it 2-0.
But Covenant responded in the third. With runners at first and third with two outs, Nobles drilled a pitch from Piedmont starter Riley Presnell off the right field fence and hustled his way to third with a two-run, two-out triple to tie the game at 2-2.
In the fifth, Covenant would take the lead for good. Luke Harvey singled and Nobles followed with a hit by pitch to put two runners aboard. After a double steal put Harvey and Nobles in scoring position, Bloye delivered a sharp single over the drawn-in infield of Piedmont that plated both runners and put the Scots ahead 4-2.
Covenant added to its lead in the sixth as Forrest Hunter led off with a double, capping a 3-for-4 day, and later scored on a passed ball making it 5-2.
That was all the offense Reitz would need. The freshman allowed just two baserunners after the first inning and retired 18 of 19 hitters at one point in the game. Reitz (2-5) went seven inning allowing two runs on three hits with six strikeouts.
Alec Mitchell came on for the final two innings and picked up his second save of the year.
Hunter was 3-for-4 with two runs, while Harvey, Nobles, Caleb Bloye and Taylor Bloye all had a hit apiece.
Presnell (3-6) gets the loss for Piedmont as he allowed four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings of work. Allen Tokarz came on in relief to throw the last 3.1 innings and surrendered one unearned run. Five different Piedmont players recorded a hit in the game.
Game two of the three-game series is set for Friday at 4 p.m. on Lookout Mountain.
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