MARYVILLE, Tenn. -- After waiting an additional three days to open USA South play, the Covenant baseball team made a statement with a doubleheader sweep of Maryville on Monday on the road. Covenant took game one, 4-2, before completing the sweep with a 3-2 victory in the nightcap.
Covenant (7-1, 2-0 USA South) has won seven straight games. It is the third time in the modern era of the program that the Scots have started 7-1, and the first since 2013.
GAME ONE: Covenant 4, Maryville 2
Three of Covenant's four runs in the contest came with two outs, none bigger than the two that scored in the sixth. In a 1-1 game, Covenant loaded the bases with two outs before Christian came through with a double to left field that plated Brooks DuBose and Alex Gonzalez for a 3-1 lead.
Maryville got a run back in the eighth and nearly tied the game, but an Adam Carver wild pitch turned into an out at the plate as the Scots threw out the would-be tying run in Ian Campbell. In the top of the ninth, Covenant extended the margin to 4-2 with Tyler Moore's RBI single.
That was enough for the Scots' pitching. Cline (2-0) picked up his second win of the year and saw his ERA drop to 0.49 after tossing 6.2 innings and allowing one unearned run on just two hits. The right-hander struck out six and walked four before giving way to Carver.
Carver worked the final 2.1 innings to collect the save, his first of the year.
Covenant fell behind 1-0 after the first inning, but evened the score in the second thanks to a fielding error by the Maryville second baseman on Trevor Grapenthin's ground ball that enabled Gonzalez to score.
Moore led the Covenant offense with two hits in four at-bats with an RBI and a walk. Gonzalez, Ken Alexander, and Christian all had one hit apiece.
Maryville received 5.1 innings from starter Jordan Davis (1-1), who allowed two earned runs on three hits. Jake Petersen was 2-for-4 and Hayden Hollingsworth had a pair of stolen bases.
GAME TWO: Covenant 3, Maryville 2
In another pitchers' duel, it was a wild pitch that allowed Covenant's CJ Edmond to score the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and the Scots' pitching held on for a 3-2 victory to complete the sweep.
Covenant had just five hits in the game, but took advantage of those opportunities. Edmond gave the Scots a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single that scored Christian before a Maryville error allowed Moore to score later in the inning.
After Maryville struck for two runs in the home half of the sixth inning, Covenant scratched across a run in the seventh. It was another two-out rally in the seventh that gave Covenant the lead for good. Edmond walked with two outs and three wild pitches later came around to score the eventual winning run.
Matt Reitz was stellar in his start for Covenant. Reitz (2-1) scattered four hits and two unearned runs over six innings with five strikeouts to grab the victory. Jackson Heuer threw the next 2.2 scoreless innings to keep the Scots in the lead.
With two outs in the ninth, Maryville strung together back-to-back singles to put the tying run in scoring position. However, Conor Austin came on and struck out Mike Homan on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat and give Covenant the sweep.
Austin notched his first save of the season.
Christian Poulsen and Joey Tomlinson had two hits each for Maryville (4-4, 0-2 USA South). Starter Anthony Rodriguez (1-1) was saddled with the loss despite going 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on four hits. Zach Messinger struck out seven in 2.1 innings of relief.
Covenant will host Wheaton (Ill.) for a non-conference, three-game series starting on Friday on Lookout Mountain. Game one is set for 2 p.m.
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