The Covenant baseball team got its season underway on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Berea. The Scots used extra innings in game one before Braeden Lane singled home the winning run in the eighth inning of a 4-3 win then, in game two, three different Covenant pitchers combined to shutout the Mountaineers 6-0.
The win in game one gave Scots head coach Doug Simons his 100th career victory at the school. Simons was instrumental in restoring the baseball program at Covenant and has seen his team win 21 or more games the last three seasons.
Simons was honored for his milestone victory and his dedication to the program with a short ceremony after game two.
In game one, it was Lane's single with runners on first and third with two outs that scored the winning run for the Scots. The hit and RBI were both firsts for the freshman.
Covenant struck first with a run in the second inning on a Chris Rollins sacrifice fly that brought home Scott Gillespie.
Pitching held down the offenses until the fifth inning when Berea broke through. The Mountaineers got an RBI triple from Ryan Akins to tie the score at 1-1. Two batters later, Akins scored on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt as Zach Blanken bunted the ball back to the pitcher and Akins beat the throw home to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Covenant would answer back in its half of the fifth. David Lockwood doubled home K.C. Simons and Gillespie followed with an RBI groundout to give the Scots a 3-2 edge. Berea tied the score again at 3-3 on an Austin Hunt triple an inning later.
In the extra frames, Lane came up with two outs and runners at first and third after a Rollins single. Lane roped a line drive just over the third baseman's head for the winning run.
Alec Mitchell (1-0) picked up the win after going 2.2 innings and allowing just one hit. Starter Keith Rice went three innings while striking out three and facing the minimum. Blake Crowe (0-1) gets the loss for Berea as he allowed the winning run.
Gillespie finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Will Cleland and Sterling Witt each had two hits also for the Scots.
In game two, starter Micah Mabe along with relievers Alhanon Miller and Witt combined to throw a four-hit shutout for Covenant. The Scots scored four runs in the fifth inning to pull away from Berea.
Mabe (1-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in three innings of work to notch the victory. Miller then followed and surrendered just two hits in three innings, and Witt closed the door in the seventh by striking out two.
Covenant scored a pair of runs in the second inning, thanks in large part to a Berea error. Reid Pope reached on a fielding error by the shortstop that allowed Perry Rigby to score and extend the inning. K.C. Simons looped a base hit into left field that scored Lane to give the Scots a 2-0 edge.
In the fifth, Covenant extended its margin. Lockwood reached on an infield single that scored K.C. Simons and Rigby followed two batters later with a three-run home run to left field to give Covenant a 6-0 lead. The homer for Rigby was his first collegiate long ball and the first for the Scots this season.
Lawton Jackson (0-1) picks up the loss for Berea after going 4.2 innings and giving up nine hits and six runs, four of which were earned.
Covenant returns to action next Friday (Feb. 15) with a single game against Emory & Henry. Game time is 2 p.m. The two teams will then square off in a doubleheader on Saturday with game one starting at 12 p.m.