Coach Doug Simons has consistently improved his Covenant College baseball team since beginning the Scots program's revival on Lookout Mountain five years ago. They went 27-16 last year and return solid pitching along with three proven regular position players as the season starts today and Saturday with 2 and 1 p.m. home games against Oglethorpe, although their main 2011 star now is at Tennessee Wesleyan. James Rollins will bat in the middle of the order after hitting .380 with seven home runs and a team-high 41 RBIs last season, and outfielders David Lockwood and Chris Rollins are back as well. Lockwood hit .315 with 25 RBIs. Starting pitchers Tyler Smith and Andre Glover had 11 and eight victories with 2.39 and 2.00 earned run averages in 72 and 63 innings, and hard-throwing Demarius Johnson and Brian Simons recorded six and three saves. Scott Gillespie, Drew Wixon, Will Clelland, KC Simons, Micah Mabe, Keith Rice and Alec Mitchell are key newcomers for Covenant. "We had an outstanding recruiting class and should see many freshmen contributing quite a bit," Coach Simons said in a school release.
• CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Lee University basketball teams pulled off another Southern States Athletic Conference sweep Thursday night at home, but the nationally 17th-ranked Lee men needed overtime to fend off an upset. The Flames (17-5, 11-4) finally won 81-78 over Brewton-Parker (8-15, 6-8) after the fourth-ranked Lady Flames won 81-61 behind 31 points and four assists by Hollie German. She hit five of seven 3-point tries. Jenna Adams scored 13 points and Brooke Hamby contributed six assists for the Lee women (24-1, 16-0). Ashley White had 18 points for the visitors (12-12, 7-8). Ryan Westbrooks had 27 points and seven rebounds for the Flames, with four 3s, while Tyrone Caldwell had 16 points and six assists, Josh Henley scored 14 points and Patrick Shaughnessy blocked four shots. Darrie Stephens had 23 points for Brewton-Parker.
• Mia Morrow had 23 points and 10 assists and Kayci McGee and Jessica Williams scored 14 points apiece as the Georgia Northwestern women's basketball team whipped visiting Free Will Baptist Bible 75-27 on Thursday at the Rossville Athletic Complex, but the Free Will men downed the Bobcats 80-68. Alex Miller scored 16 points and Ben Patton, Matt Woods and Bud Todd added 14, 13 and 11 in defeat. Kenisha Watkins had 10 points for the Lady Cats (4-14).
• Ishmael Sanders from Cleveland led Carson-Newman's men's basketball team with 22 points in a 78-64 home win Wednesday night against Tusculum.
• The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team begins its season today with two games in the National Training Center Invitational tournament at Clermont, Fla. -- against Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Coach Frank Reed's Lady Mocs play North Carolina and Central Florida on Saturday and Florida Atlantic on Sunday.
• Carson-Newman's softball team totaled 23 hits in two games Wednesday at Queens College but lost 3-2 before winning 7-4. From the Chattanooga area, Shelby Robertson went 4-for-5 with three runs and Sara Kelley and Caitlyn Lance each was 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the Lady Eagles' win. Ridgeland's Lance and Ooltewah's Bri Shoemake and Jessica Morgan had two hits each in game one.