DANVILLE, Va. -- The Covenant softball team gave No. 16-ranked Averett all it could handle in Friday's USA South doubleheader, but the host Cougars came away with the sweep. Averett won game one 3-0 and took the finale 8-4.
Covenant drops to 9-21 overall and 2-18 in league play. Averett clinches the USA South regular season title with the sweep as it moves to 30-1-1 overall and 20-1 inside the USA South.
Game 1: Averett 3, Covenant 0
Starting pitchers Hannah Rogers and Mary Beth Smith were locked in a duel until Averett scored a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 3-0 win in Friday's game one.
Rogers had the best start of her career as she stymied a potent Averett offense that was hitting over .400 as a team entering play on Friday. The junior right-hander retired six straight at one point and had a shutout through four innings. Rogers (0-3) finished allowing six hits and one earned run in five innings of work.
Averett snapped the scoreless streak with an unearned run in the fifth. Covenant mishandled a bunt by Samantha Hall and Jessye Crews was able to scamper home from second for the game's first run. In the sixth, Covenant committed two more errors and the host Cougars took advantage by scoring two runs to up their lead to 3-0.
Smith (17-1) was equally impressive as she went the distance allowing just four hits and striking out eight.
Hall finished 2-for-4 with a stolen base for Averett.
Game 2: Averett 8, Covenant 4
In game two, Covenant hung tough with Averett, holding the lead into the fifth inning before falling behind and eventually losing 8-4.
Tyler Epes started the game and, after giving up two runs early, pitched well and was able to hold down Averett through the fourth inning. Epes worked out of trouble in the second, third, and fourth and stranded two runners in each inning while only giving up one run.
On the other side, the Lady Scots took advantage of some wildness by the Averett pitchers, scoring three runs in the third and one in the fourth on only three hits.
A walk and two straight hit batters loaded the bases for Covenant with nobody out in the third. Kasey Hart delivered with a run-scoring single followed by an RBI single by Morgan Lane and an RBI groundout by Jordan Brett.
The Lady Scots added to their lead in the fourth inning. Kendall Whann made it 4-2 with an RBI double after another walk and a hit batter gave the Lady Scots runners on first and second.
With runners at second and third with nobody out and a run in the bank, Covenant was unable to add more insurance, as the next three hitters went down.
That lost opportunity marked a turning point in the game as the Cougars scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and then scored five more in the fifth to take an 8-4 lead.
Covenant, meanwhile, was shut down for the final innings by Amy Hamlett, who set down the last 12 hitters she faced.
Hart, Whann, and Lane each had one of Covenant's three hits and all drove in one run. Epes (3-7) gets the loss after pitching 4.1 innings and giving up five earned runs.
Hamlett moves to 4-0 after pitching the final four innings and giving up just one hit.
Covenant will play its third doubleheader in as many days on Saturday in Staunton, Va., against Mary Baldwin. Game one starts at 1 p.m.