LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- On a sunny but cold day, the Covenant softball team dropped consecutive games to conference opponent Methodist, 9-5 and 8-6 on Friday afternoon.
Covenant drops to .500 on the year at 9-9 and is now 2-8 in USA South conference play. Methodist, with the wins, is also at the .500 mark with a 12-12 record. They are 6-6 in the USA South.
Morgan Lane homered and drove in two runs in the first game and Jordan Brett collected four hits, two of them doubles, and drove in two runs in the two games combined. Amanda English also had two hits and two RBIs in each game.
With hits in each game, Lane extended her program-record hitting streak to 17 games.
Game 1: Methodist 9, Covenant 5
In a game with quite a few strange plays early on, Methodist pulled away with four late runs to clinch game one.
The action featured the teams combining for 10 errors along with a couple other oddities. Capitalizing on several of the crazy plays, Methodist took a 5-2 lead into the bottom half of the third inning.
Methodist scored two runs on only one hit in the first inning as the Lady Scots committed three errors. Kelsey Harrington doubled home a run and later scored herself after two Covenant errors on a batted ball from Ally Griffin to make it 2-0.
Covenant cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the first. After Kasey Hart doubled to right-center, Lane extended her program-record hitting streak to 16 games with an RBI double to the gap in right-center that scored Hart.
Another two errors in the top of the second by Covenant allowed the Monarchs to score two more runs, and extend the lead to 4-1 going into the bottom of the second.
In Covenant's half, they scored a run on an RBI fielder's choice by Jami Johnson, but couldn't get any more despite having two runners on with just one out. Johnson blooped one into the outfield that would've gone as a hit, but Kendall Whann, who was at first base, had to hold up in case the ball was caught and was forced out at second base in another odd play.
In the third, and leading 5-2, Methodist coach Ron Simpson opted to go to the bullpen, bringing in Christine Bowman to relieve Emily Hester. That move backfired right away as Lane greeted Bowman with a solo home run to leadoff the inning. The homer was Lane's fourth of the year. With two outs and the bases loaded, English came through with a clutch, game-tying single to right prompting Simpson to bring back his original starter.
The score stayed 5-5 until the sixth when Methodist broke it open by scoring three times on four hits against Covenant reliever Joni Johnson. Johnson gave up another run in the seventh, and the Lady Scots were held down the rest of the way by Hester.
After Covenant chased reliever Bowman and Hester had been reinserted, she went the rest of the way, giving up just two hits in the final 3.1 innings. In all, Hester (3-2) gave up seven hits and two runs in 6.1 innings to get the victory.
Joni Johnson (3-2) gets the loss after coming on for Covenant starter Cori Hilt in the third inning. Johnson pitched five innings and gave up four runs on nine hits.
Lane and English provided the offense for the Lady Scots, collecting two hits and driving in two runs each. Shannon Schmitt also had two hits while scoring two runs for Covenant.
Game 2: Methodist 8, Covenant 6
In game two, Covenant took an early 1-0 lead when Lane singled with two outs, giving her hits in 17 straight games, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Brett's double to right-center.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Methodist came back to score three times in the top of the second off starter Cris Gant and relief pitcher Hannah Rogers. The inning could've been much worse if not for a big double play started by Brett at third base, who threw home to Shade Epes. Epes relayed it onto first to record the second out of the inning.
Covenant got a run back in the second on a Jami Johnson sacrifice fly that brought English home and Covenant to within 3-2.
Methodist scored four more times in the third inning to take a 7-2 lead. However, the Lady Scots were able to get right back into it with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Brett and Madison Quirk had back-to-back RBI doubles and English followed with a run-scoring single. Later in the inning, Jami Johnson drove in her second run of the game with a single to bring Covenant back to within one, at 7-6.
The score stayed that way for the next three innings, as both Tyler Epes for Covenant and the Monarchs' Nicole Heinrich threw scoreless innings.
Methodist tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh, and Covenant went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, swinging early in the count and only seeing five pitches from Heinrich.
Rogers (0-1) gets the loss after giving up six runs in 1.1 innings. Heinrich (5-3) records the victory after coming on for Brittany Miller and throwing 4.1 shutout innings while only giving up three hits.
Brett was 2-of-4 for the Lady Scots, with two doubles and two RBIs while English had two more hits, two runs, and an RBI to lead the Lady Scots.
Covenant will have a quick turnaround as they are back in action on Saturday for a doubleheader against North Carolina Wesleyan. The first game starts at 1 p.m., with the second game following about 30 minutes after game one concludes. Senior Day activities will follow game two.