LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant baseball team will make its second appearance at the USA South Tournament as the No. 8 seeded Scots open the double-elimination tournament on Thursday against No. 1 seeded Piedmont on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. on the campus of LaGrange College.
- Covenant (16-20, 9-13 USA South) enters the tournament having won four of its last five games to end the regular season. The Scots won all four games last week and scored 65 runs (13 per game) in five games during the stretch.
- The Scots are making their second appearance in the USA South Tournament, and the first since 2016. Covenant went 0-2 in the 2016 tournament with losses to N.C. Wesleyan and LaGrange. Covenant is 1-4 all-time in conference tournaments (two appearances).
- Win or lose against Piedmont, the Scots will take on either Huntingdon or N.C. Wesleyan on Friday at 1:30 p.m. (location TBD). Covenant went 1-2 against Huntingdon this season, while the Scots just completed a two-game sweep of N.C. Wesleyan last weekend.
- Covenant and Piedmont met on April 5-6 in Demorest, Ga., with the Lions taking all three games. Covenant had leads in the eighth inning in each of the final two games of the series before Piedmont rallied for victories. Piedmont leads the all-time series 16-10
- John Mitchell has been hot at the plate for the Scots. The reigning USA South Player of the Week, Mitchell batted .542 (13-for-24) with a homer and 10 RBIs last week and is hitting .475 with 15 RBIs in the month of April. Mitchell has a hit in 11 straight games and his 42 RBIs on the year are fourth-most in a single season in program history. He is also tied for the lead in the USA South in stolen bases with 21.
- Covenant has three regulars hitting over .300 on the year. Alex Gonzalez leads the team in average (.350) and homers (4), while Mitchell is hitting .341 and Tyler Moore is at .325. Moore has produced two extended hitting streaks on the year at 13 and 15 games.
- The Scots rank in the top half of the conference in several offensive categories. Covenant is third in home runs (21), fifth in triples (15), sixth in doubles (62), and sixth in extra-base hits (98).
- Piedmont (29-8, 19-3 USA South) claimed the USA South regular season title last weekend. The Lions, ranked No. 12 in the latest D3baseball.com/NCBWA Top 25, are led Brady Ballstadt. Ballstadt is hitting .411 with two homers, 31 RBIs, 53 runs scored and 21 steals on the season.
- In addition to Ballstadt, Piedmont's Andrew Burden (45) and Tyler Burdette (44) rank second and third, respectively, in the USA South in RBIs.
- Pitching has also been key for Piedmont as ace starter Sam Carpenter leads the USA South in strikeouts with 82 (in 76.1 innings), while closer Matt Vonderschmidt has tallied a league-leading nine saves. As a team, Piedmont sports a 3.74 ERA which is fourth-best in the USA South.
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