LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- After waiting an extra day to open a weekend series with Wheaton, the Covenant baseball team fell twice to the visiting Thunder on Saturday afternoon on Lookout Mountain.
Wheaton took game one, 3-1, and then completed the doubleheader sweep with a 9-7 victory in the finale.
The losses snapped a seven-game win streak for Covenant (7-3). It was the season opener for Wheaton (2-0).
GAME ONE: Wheaton 3, Covenant 1
Wheaton starter Michael McCraith struck out 15 over seven innings and the Thunder used a three-run first inning to defeat Covenant, 3-1.
The Thunder scored all three runs in the top of the first. Evan Ogden doubled home two runs to open the scoring and a Sam Reichert RBI ground out capped the inning to give Wheaton a 3-0 lead.
McCraith was on his game from the start. The right-hander struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced and did not allow a hit until Tyler Moore's single to left field in the fourth inning. McCraith (1-0) went seven innings and struck out 15 with two walks.
Down 3-0 in the eighth, Covenant put on a rally. Tommy Easley produced an infield single to keep the inning alive with two outs and later scored on a Moore RBI single. The Scots loaded the bases, but Wheaton was able to wiggle out of the jam without further damage. Covenant would put two runners aboard in the ninth, but were unable to capitalize.
Covenant starter Andrew Cline (2-1) allowed three first inning runs, but settled down after that to toss six innings with four strikeouts and six hits allowed. Jackson Heuer threw the final three frames and allowed just two hits.
Moore finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, while Joseph Ridenour and Easley had the other two Covenant hits.
Ogden went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs to pace the Thunder attack. Kevin Champlin earned the save.
GAME TWO: Wheaton 9, Covenant 7
A four-run sixth inning gave Wheaton the lead for good as the Thunder completed the series sweep with a 9-7 win in the finale.
Covenant led 5-3 after five innings. The Scots scored twice in the second, both runs coming on Brooks DuBose's two-run double, then scored one in the fourth and two in the fifth. In the fifth inning, it was Alex Gonzalez's triple to center field that scored both CJ Edmond and Moore to give the Scots a 5-3 lead.
In the sixth, the first two Wheaton batters were retired but the Thunder would send 10 men to the plate in the frame and score four runs. Nick Mailman's three-run home run to right field gave Wheaton a 6-5 lead and Ogden delivered an RBI single later in the inning to make it 7-5.
Wheaton added a run in the seventh on a Reichert solo home run to left field. Covenant answered back with two runs in the home half of the inning as John Mitchell doubled down the line in left to bring home Edmond and Moore.
However, Wheaton tacked on another run in the eighth and held on for the victory.
Gonzalez went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Mitchell was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Hunter Christian drew four walks, becoming the first player in the modern era of the program to take four walks in a game.
Christian Bolhuis (1-0) went five innings and collected the win as he struck out three and allowed four hits and four runs. Caleb Selk picked up the save as he tossed the final four innings. Ben Brittain had three hits, while Mailman drove in three and Matthias Haggerty had two RBIs in the win.
Covenant will host Wittenberg for a mid-week game on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
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