The Covenant baseball team snapped its four-game losing streak on Friday afternoon as Scott Gillespie delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth lifting the Scots to a 4-3 USA South win over Piedmont.
The victory for Covenant moves the Scots to 7-5 overall on the season and 4-3 inside the USA South. Piedmont drops to 12-4 overall and 5-1 in league play.
With the score knotted at 3-3 heading into the ninth, Piedmont had first crack at breaking the tie. The Lions put runners on first and second with one out, but Scots reliever Chris Rollins struck out Piedmont's Austin Brick and then got Will Skidmore to hit into a fielder's choice to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the ninth, Rollins led off and was hit by a pitch from new Piedmont reliever Josh Thomas. KC Simons followed with a single and Will Cleland moved both runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt. The Lions decided to intentionally walk David Lockwood to load the bases for Gillespie. Gillespie took a 2-1 pitch and shot it through the hole between first and second to score Rollins and send the Covenant players on to the field to celebrate.
Gillespie finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. Rollins was one of six different Scots to record a hit as he went 1-for-3 with a home run and two runs. Simons, Cleland, Lockwood, Perry Rigby and Paul Phillips each had a hit apiece.
Covenant starting pitcher Micah Mabe turned in his best outing of the season by going seven innings and allowing two earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. Mabe threw 94 pitches, 60 of which were strikes.
Rollins (2-0) came on in relief and threw two scoreless innings to pick up his second win of the season.
Piedmont gained an early lead with a run in the top of the first. Keith Grabowski scored from third as Covenant threw out Griffin Olson trying to steal second. Covenant took a 2-1 lead in the third when Rollins lifted a solo home run, on an 0-2 count, to left field. The Scots added a second run in the third on Lockwood's RBI double down the left field line that plated Simons.
In the fourth, Piedmont responded with two runs of its own. Olson scored on a Covenant throwing error and Daniel Lindsey drove in Josh Bailey with a line drive single to center field giving the Lions a 3-2 advantage.
Covenant tied the score at 3-3 in the fifth inning. With two outs, Rigby singled to center field that allowed Cleland, who led off the frame with a single, to score from second.
Olson and Breck Davidson each had two hits for Piedmont. Lindsey had the lone RBI for the visiting Lions. Piedmont starter Matt Lisk was effective as he surrendered three earned runs on five hits in six innings of work. Reliever Allen Tokarz went two scoreless innings before Thomas (1-1) allowed the winning run in the ninth.
The two teams will conclude their three-game series on Saturday with two, nine-inning games. Game one of the doubleheader is set for 12 p.m.