LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant softball team had won five of its last six games entering a USA South doubleheader on Saturday against visiting Averett, but the Lady Scots could not keep their winning ways going as they dropped both games. Averett took game one 11-0 in five innings before hanging on for a 5-3 victory in game two.
The softball program was playing its cause game for 2016 by raising awareness for Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Proceeds from t-shirt sales and other contributions are being donated to Covenant men's basketball assistant coach Peter Wilkerson, who is recovering from the illness. Wilkerson was on hand during the games.
Covenant drops to 10-9-1 overall and 3-7 in USA South play with the losses. Averett goes to 14-9 overall and 6-0 in league play.
GAME ONE: Averett 11, Covenant 0
An eight-run fifth inning opened up the game and gave Averett an 11-0 victory in five innings over Covenant in Saturday's first game.
The Lady Scots managed just five hits off Averett ace Mary Beth Smith in the loss. Jami Johnson went 2-for-3 to lead Covenant while Joni Johnson, Jordan Brett and Kaitlyn Sirmons each had a hit apiece.
Averett scored single runs in the first, third and fourth innings to build a 3-0 lead. In the fifth, Averett scored eight times, highlighted by a Smith three-run home run, to take an 11-0 lead and would secure the win in the bottom half.
Covenant's best chance to get on the scoreboard came in the fourth. Joni Johnson doubled to lead off the inning and Brett followed with a single to left to put runners at first and second. Sirmons walked to load the bases, but Averett got out of it with a force out at home and then a fly out.
Tyler Epes (3-3) picked up the loss for Covenant going four innings.
Smith (10-3) gets the win for Averett tossing five shutout innings allowing five hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Smith also went 2-for-3 with four RBIs at the plate, while Taylor Dix added three hits and three RBIs.
GAME TWO: Averett 5, Covenant 3
In Saturday's second game, Covenant scored three runs in the second to tie the score but Averett took the lead for good in the third and completed the sweep with a 5-3 victory.
Down 3-0 in the bottom of the second, the Lady Scots scored three times on three hits to tie the score. Shannon Schmitt singled to leadoff the inning and Brett followed with a double to put runners at the corners with one out. Two batters later, Sirmons produced a sacrifice fly that scored Schmitt to make it 3-1. Madalyn Ames then came through with a two-run single to center field tying the score at 3-3.
Averett took the lead for good with a run in the third and then added one more in the sixth for the final tally. Covenant had a chance to tie in the bottom of the seventh as Sirmons walked to start the inning and pinch-hitter Kat Andrews singled to left field. But Smith shut the door once again on the Lady Scots as she recorded the final three outs to pick up the victory.
Schmitt went 2-for-3 with a runs scored for Covenant, while Ames was 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Starting pitcher Cris Gant (3-3) went the distance striking out 12 and throwing 156 pitches, 87 for strikes.
Smith (11-3) came on in relief in the third inning and threw the final 4.2 innings to notch her second victory of the day. Jessica Long went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and Rhyan Scearce also drove in two runs for the Cougars.
Covenant hosts Wesleyan for a doubleheader on Tuesday, March 22. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
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