Chowan downs visiting Elizabeth City State

Published 9:27 am Thursday, March 25, 2010

MURFREESBORO – Nine for nine.

That’s how Head Coach Aaron Carroll would like for his Chowan University Hawks baseball team to finish a grueling nine-day run of baseball games that includes four double-headers.

But the team’s not complaining about all that work since they began the run 3-0, including a Monday make-up win over Elizabeth City State in CIAA play at Hawkins Field, 9-4. Saturday they swept Shaw in league play with a doubleheader win in Raleigh.

“We’ve won three in a row now,” said the sixth-year coach after the win. “Still not as consistent offensively as what we should be, but our pitching’s gotten better in the last two weeks and we feel like we’re about to start hitting our stride.”

Senior right-hander Robert Weaver is the latest proof of that improvement on the mound. The Hampton, Virginia native picked up his first win as a starter, going four innings and surrendering two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts.

“Usually I’m a reliever,” Weaver said with a grin after the game, “but I just go out there and throw strikes and try to keep the ball down.”

Weaver was making just his second start of the season.

“I hadn’t thrown in about a week,” he added, “so the extra work helped me a lot.”

Something else helping his effort were the four runs his teammates put up in the first inning.

After John Kellett walked and stole second, freshman second baseman Brandon Mack – who went 4-for-4 with three runs driven in – collected his first RBI of the afternoon for a 1-0 Chowan lead.

Two outs later and with one more aboard, Nate Stanton singled to left field to drive in two more runs. Still later, freshman Stewart Barnette drew a bases-loaded walk for the final run of the frame staking the Hawks to a 4-0 cushion.

After ECSU got a run back in the top of the second, sophomore Justin Bagbey clouted his ninth home run of the year over the left field wall to make it 5-1.

“He’s been patient,” said Carroll with a smile, “and taking his walks, but when people throw it right across the plate he’s been hammering it.”

The Kellett-Mack combo came back in the third to post another run as Kellett scored on Mack’s single just over the ECSU shortstop and Chowan was up, 6-1.

The Vikings came back to touch Weaver for another run in the top of the fourth. Weaver then gave way to sophomore righty Tyler King who surrendered another run in the fourth and one more in the fifth for a 6-4 score before Tyler Chelenza came on in the sixth and picked up his second save.

Chowan put the game away in the bottom of the sixth with a trio of runs. Once again it was Kellett and Mack, this time with back-to-back doubles with one out to produce the first run.

Two batters later, Justine Shockley picked up the third two-bagger of the inning to score Mack and Justine Bagbey, who had walked, for a couple more. Anthony O’Brien closed it out pitching a scoreless top of the seventh and the win evened Chowan’s CIAA record at 3-3.

“We’ve got back-to-back double-headers this weekend,” said Bagbey, “and that’s four games we need to win to get right up there near the top.

“If we take care of business,” he added, “we can come out of that undefeated for the week.”

“That’s the main thing,” added Carroll. “Part of being consistent is just playing consistently, and that’s something we haven’t done because of the weather up to this point.

“Hopefully the weather’ll hold out and we can get into a rhythm and good things’ll start happening for us,” he added.

Chowan (10-13-1) is on the road at Lincoln for a double-header today before returning to Hawkins Field for two games with Virginia State on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. They close the week at Virginia State with another double-dip on Sunday.