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Season-in-Review: Baseball

Alex Gonzalez
Nina Grauley/ Sports Information

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LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- An up and down year for the Covenant baseball team saw the Scots finish strong and qualify for the USA South Tournament. The 13th year of the modern era saw the Scots finish 17-22 overall and 9-13 in the USA South to take a spot in the conference tournament.

Covenant began the year with a 7-1 record and a 2-0 mark in the USA South. During the stretch to start the season, the Scots took a series win over region foe Oglethorpe before sweeping Emory & Henry and starting USA South play with a doubleheader sweep at Maryville.

The Scots struggled through the middle part of the year, but came on strong over the final two weeks of the regular season to secure a spot in the USA South Tournament. Covenant won four of its final five games of the regular season, all within a five-day stretch, to close the regular season and claim the No. 8 seed in the league tournament. The momentum continued into the USA South Tournament as the Scots knocked off No. 1 seed, and regular season champion, Piedmont 7-2 in the opening round.

Offense was a key for the Scots as Covenant ranked in the upper half of the USA South in several hitting categories, including third in home runs (21) and triples (17), and fourth in walks (209). Covenant's .290 team batting average was the best team average since 2014 and the 291 runs scored are the third-most in a single-season in modern program history.

GAME OF THE YEAR

Senior Day spared no dramatics in 2019. In unseasonably cold weather, Covenant pulled off a dramatic win after honoring its senior class.

Facing N.C. Wesleyan, which the Scots defeated 25-17 the day before, in the regular season finale, the Scots trailed the entire game before coming up with clutch hits late. 

Covenant never led until the final at-bat of the game. The Scots were down 6-4 entering the ninth and facing N.C. Wesleyan closer Noah Shrock. With two outs, Covenant loaded the bases after Jonah Carignan drew a walk and Donny Lewis was hit by a pitch. Hunter Christian then delivered a single to center field that plated both Lewis Saunders and Carignan to even the score at 6-6.

In the 10th inning, Andrew Brock led off the frame by lifting a fly ball to shallow right field that dropped in for a double as the N.C. Wesleyan right fielder slipped and fell while trying to make the catch. After a walk to John Mitchell, CJ Edmond hit a hard grounder to first base that deflected off the N.C. Wesleyan first baseman and ricocheted down the right field line allowing Brock to score the winning run.

Before the game, Covenant honored its five seniors (Matt ReitzJohn MitchellJonah CarignanTyrique Wilmore, and Donny Lewis) for their dedication and contributions to the program during their careers. All five played in the game.

RECORD BREAKERS/MILESTONES

  • John Mitchell had a career-best season to end his collegiate career. Mitchell set a single-season program record with 27 stolen bases (which led the USA South) and tied a program mark with 44 RBIs. He had five stolen bases in Covenant's loss to Greensboro in the USA South Tournament, setting a USA South tournament record, and had six steals in the entire tournament (tying a USA South record). Mitchell also tied a single-game program record with six RBIs in a loss to Berea on March 15.
  • CJ Edmond set a single-season program record with 34 walks. Edmond drew four walks in a game against Wittenberg, which tied the single-game program mark that was set just three days prior by Hunter Christian.
  • Alex Gonzalez reached base safely in the season's first 35 games, the longest streak for a Covenant player to start a season since Taylor Oldham reached in all 43 games in 2011.
  • Tyler Moore had two lengthy hitting streaks during the year. Moore had a 13-game streak in the middle of the year and went on a 15-game spurt over the final weeks of the regular season.
  • Matt Reitz ended his career second in program history in career games started (41), third in innings pitched (249.2), fourth in strikeouts (166), and fifth in wins (14).
  • Covenant's 25-17 win over N.C. Wesleyan on April 19 set a program record for combined runs (42), while the Scots' 25 runs were second-most in a game in program history. 

TOP PERFORMERS

Batting Avg.:
Alex Gonzalez (.345)
Tyler Moore (.344)
John Mitchell (.341)

HR:
Alex Gonzalez (4)
John Mitchell (3)
CJ Edmond (3)
Brooks DuBose (3)

RBI:
John Mitchell (44)
Brooks DuBose (33)
Alex Gonzalez (32)
Tyler Moore (32)

Runs:
Alex Gonzalez (40)
Tyler Moore (38)
John Mitchell (38)

Innings:
Andrew Cline (77.1)
Jackson Heuer (62.2)
Matt Reitz (54.0)

Strikeouts:
Andrew Cline (63)
Matt Reitz (42)
Adam Carver (28)

Wins:
Andrew Cline (5)
Jackson Heuer (5)
Matt Reitz (3)

Appearances:
Adam Carver (18)
Conor Austin (15)
Matt Reitz (14)

AWARD WINNERS

All-USA South
John Mitchell - second team

USA South All-Sportsmanship
Ken Alexander

USA South Player of the Week
John Mitchell - April 22

USA South Rookie of the Week
Brett Kernodle - April 8
Hunter Christian - April 22

USA South Team Sportsmanship Award
Team

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS

Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive text alerts with score updates or e-newsletters, click here