Hawks upend Millersville
Published 10:18 am Tuesday, March 9, 2010
MURFREESBORO – Thanks to winter storms the early season hasn’t gone as expected for the Chowan University baseball team.
Sunday the Hawks created a storm of their own, erupting for four big hits in a five-run eighth inning at Hawkins Field and downing Millersville University, 10-9, to salvage one game of a three-game weekend series.
Sophomore Adam Capps went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs. Senior Nate Mitchell went 3-for-4 driving in a pair with a two-run homerun and fellow senior Mike Taylor also collected two RBIs as he went 2-for-4 and scored three runs.
Taylor, who was named as team captain at the beginning of the season, had the two-out hit that ignited the big inning rally: a seeing-eye single that punched its way up the middle through the infield and produced a pair of runs.
“He hasn’t been hitting the ball the way he’s capable of as far as driving in runs when we needed it,” said sixth-year coach Aaron Carroll, “but he stepped up, did what he had to do today and hit it just enough to get the runs in. It was just a well-played game.”
“I hadn’t really had the best of luck hitting the ball hard this year,” added Taylor, “but I got just enough on it to get the job done when we needed it.”
Sophomore right-hander Anthony O’Brien got the win in relief, evening his record at 1-1. Senior Robert Weaver got the season’s first save and despite surrendering a three-run home run to make it a one-run game, he got the key final two outs.
Sophomore Tyler Chelenza went four and two-thirds innings of middle relief, surrendering three runs on six hits with five strikeouts.
“We went to him earlier than we’d like to,” said Carroll, “but he hung on there and kept us in the game until we could figure their pitching out and score some runs.”
Millersville got four runs in the first five innings before the Hawks struck for three in the bottom of the sixth.
After Taylor walked and Mitchell was hit by a pitch, Capps hit a rope past third base that dropped just inside the left field line that scored the pair and he legged it out for a triple. Capps then scored when Lee Dickens beat out a bunt down the first-base line to make it, 4-3.
Chowan then went ahead in the bottom of the seventh inning when Capps delivered two more runs on another shot to left field scoring Justin Shockley and Taylor to make it, 5-4, Hawks.
The Marauders came back and chased Chelenza in the top of the eighth with back-to-back doubles to score the first run and then got another on a sacrifice bunt to retake the lead, 6-5. That set up the heroics of the pivotal inning for Chowan.
In the bottom of the eighth, Brandon Mack singled with one out and moved to second when Justin Bagbey was intentionally walked. Shockley then singled to score Mack and tie the game at 6-6.
Taylor’s timely hit scored two more runs to put Chowan ahead, 8-6, before Mitchell sent a two-strike fastball over the fence in left just beyond the scoreboard to make it 10-6
“Sometimes you start pressing,” said Mitchell, “and you’ve got to settle down. We watched an inspirational video that said, ‘hold the rope’ and once we start winning that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to start climbing up.”
“Coming into this game,” added Taylor, “we knew we had to just hit and hit and hit, and if we keep hitting like that no one’s ever going to beat us.”
“We’re getting into a rhythm now”, said Carroll, “the weather’s finally broken and we’re getting into the heart of our schedule.”
“I know we’re going to score runs,” he added with a grin. “It’ll just be whether we can stop anybody.”
Chowan (7-9-1) is back in CIAA action Tuesday in Raleigh against St. Augustine’s College before they return to Hawkins Field this weekend for a three-game series with Davis & Elkins beginning with a double-header on Saturday starting at noon.