DANVILLE, Va. -- A wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning brought home the winning run as host Averett defeated the Covenant baseball team, 2-1, in USA South action at Owen-Fulton Field on Friday.
The game was moved up several hours to try to avoid impending rain in the area. Saturday's doubleheader has also been adjusted with the first game now starting at 10 a.m.
Covenant (7-5, 2-1 USA South) received a strong start from Matt Reitz as he went seven innings and allowed just one unearned run. However, with the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Averett's Brandon Hatcher reached base to leadoff the frame and later scored the winning run on a wild pitch with two outs.
The Scots trailed 1-0 after three innings, but evened the score in the top of the fourth. CJ Edmond led off the stanza with a walk and stole second before scoring on an Alex Gonzalez single to right field. Gonzalez would advance to third with two outs, but the Covenant rally ended there.
Covenant had opportunities to score throughout the game as the Scots put runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, fifth, eighth, and ninth innings. The Scots put runners on the corners with one out in the top of the ninth, but Averett reliever Ryan Traylor worked out of the jam to preserve the tie.
In the home half of the ninth, Hatcher was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning and eventually got to third with two outs following a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch. Adam Carver's 2-2 pitch to AJ Hart skipped in the dirt and just far enough away from catcher Jonah Carignan for Hatcher to beat the throw home and score the winning run.
Reitz picked up a no-decision in his start after going seven innings. The right-hander scattered seven hits and struck out five, while not walking a batter. Carver (1-1) received the loss in relief after going 1.2 innings.
Gonzalez led Covenant with two hits in four at-bats. Tyler Moore, Edmond, Carignan, Brooks DuBose, and Donny Lewis all had a hit apiece. DuBose's double to leadoff the fifth inning was the lone extra-base hit for either team in the game.
Averett (2-13, 1-6 USA South) starter Matt Tuggle tossed five innings and struck out eight while allowing one run on four hits. Traylor (1-3) threw the final four innings to notch the win. Seven different players recorded one hit for the host Cougars.
The final two games of the series are set for Saturday. Game times have been moved up with the first game of the doubleheader now set for 10 a.m.
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