Lookout Mountain, GA- The baseball team started their 2017 campaign this afternoon with a similar coach in a new role. Former Mountaineer and pitching coach Brian Hill began his first season as head coach this afternoon. Hill, a former pitcher who is second in saves, strikeouts and pitching wins in program history, began his coaching career for the Mountaineers as the pitching coach during the 2015 season. The rest of the staff includes associate head coach Todd Morris and another former Mountaineer, pitching coach Patrick Elzinga. Some of the returners for the team are Ron Overstreet, Ryan Blevens, William Hislope and Devin Belleville. The team opened their season on the road against future USA South Athletic Conference opponent the Covenant College Scots.
The opening batter for the Mountaineers, Josh Wilson, reached base via a hit by pitch and quickly got in scoring position by stealing second. Wilson advanced to third on Andrew Adkins' sacrifice bunt but could not get on the scoreboard as the next two batters struck out swinging. A six run bottom of the first inning put the Scots ahead 6-0 as the teams headed to the second inning. The offenses stalled for both teams as the defenses picked up until the fourth inning, when Berea's first hit from Belleville put him on first base with one out. A double play from the next batter held the Mountaineers without a run as Covenant College scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to move ahead 8-0.
Nicholas Bottom's single to center to begin the fifth put him at first base as Berea looked to score. A wild pitch by the Scots pitcher allowed Bottom to move to second base, putting him in scoring position. Blade Hampton hit a single which moved Bottom to third base, with no outs in the inning. A double play by the next Berea batter put two outs on the board but gave Bottom the opportunity to put the first run on the scoreboard, making the score 8-1 in favor of Covenant College. The offensive momentum did not continue for the Mountaineers as they fell in the first game by a score of 13-1. Bottom finished 2-3, scoring the only run for Berea.
The second game saw the Mountaineers get off to a better start as a solo home run in the second inning by Caleb Gupton gave Berea a 1-0 advantage. The team would not threaten to add to their lead until the top of the fourth inning when Overstreet reached base on a throwing error by the Scots third baseman, allowing him to move into scoring position at second base. Overstreet moved to third base on Belleville's single and scored the second run of the game off of Adkins' single, giving the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead. The score remained in the favor of Berea as Joshua Works' pitching styimed the Scots offense through six innings as the teams entered the final seventh inning. Two runs by Covenant College in the bottom of the final inning though made the score 2-2, sending the game to extra innings. Berea could not mount any offense in the top of the eighth inning as Covenant College used a walk-off home run to win the game, 3-2, completing the two game sweep this afternoon.
Gupton led the way at the plate, going 1-3 with one home run and one RBI. Belleville finished 2-3 from the plate. Akins also finished the game with a RBI. Works started the game on the mound for the Mountaineers, pitching six innings and giving up four hits, two runs (one earned) and striking out two.
Berea (0-2) concludes the weekend series with the Scots tomorrow as they are scheduled to play at 11:30 AM. Live stats of the action can be seen here.