Chowan sweeps on Senior Day

Published 4:18 pm Friday, March 18, 2011

MURFREESBORO – If at first you don’t succeed – well, most of you know the rest.

Despite dropping a pair of games Tuesday that would have brought it to the century mark, the Chowan University softball team swept a pair of Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association games from visiting Elizabeth City State and earned fourth-year Head Coach Mandy Balduf her 100th coaching win.

Actually, Balduf’s total is 101 wins as the Hawks won by scores of 12-4 and 8-0 with both games shortened to five innings due to the eight-run-lead rule. Also, an 8-0 run last week earned Balduf “CIAA Coach of the Week” honors.

Tuesday was also Senior Day and seniors Mindy Bird, Katie Duncan, Tricia Gorman and Brooke Owen were honored in a special ceremony between games.

“I just wanted that one win to get it off my back,” said a smiling Balduf after the twin-bill. “A couple of the players knew how many we needed going into the season so it was sort of a countdown and when we got to 99 we just wanted to get it out of the way.

“It was nice to get it on Senior Day,” she added, “because these seniors are also the ones who have a hundred wins and anytime you get that many wins that makes you a pretty good class. (They’re) my first recruiting class and they’ve helped me build what we have so I think it was a little bit of sweetness to have it for them as well.”

As for Gorman, she was named as CIAA “Player of the Week” for last week in leading Chowan to eight straight wins and driving in 23 runs – including 10 RBIs Sunday in Raleigh at the CIAA Round-Up against St. Augustine’s.

With her parents watching, she nearly equaled that total over the two games, driving in five runs in the first game on three hits and four more in game two while going 2-for-3 for a total on nine on the day.

“I thought I was going to cry, but I didn’t,” she said afterward with a grin. “It was Senior Day and I was just pumped. I was hoping I could top it off with a homerun.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” she added. “and I don’t think it will until I play my very last game.”

Based on the way the Hawks are storming through the CIAA that might be a while.  Chowan scored early and often in both games against the Lady Vikings to post their 18th win of the year and ninth in the conference.

Gorman opened the scoring in the first game driving in the first two runs in the bottom of the first and then scored as Chowan got another pair of unearned runs for a 4-0 lead.

They got three more in the second inning with RBIs from Gorman, Byrd and junior Megan Wade.

Sophomore Fahren Munro drove in a run and Gorman collected her final two RBIs in Chowan’s three-run third inning that staked the Hawks to a 10-0 lead.

Elizabeth City got a pair of run in each of the next two innings, however, and made it a game entering the bottom of the seventh trailing, 10-4.

However, the Vikes’ hope of an upset was short-lived as Chowan got a pair of runs in their half of the fifth to get the win.  Junior Allie Kolezynski got the pitching victory, raising her record above .500 to 7-6.

“I can’t believe how fast our season’s going,” said Kolezynski, “but we’ve got to close strong and we’ve got to win at home.”

In the second game, four early runs staked the Hawks to a 6-0 lead thanks to Gorman again coming through with a two-RBI single in the second inning and a trio of ECSU errors.

Chowan added single runs in the third and fourth pushing it to 8-0.

All that remained was whether sophomore Christie Wright would finish with a perfect game.  She eventually surrendered a two-out hit in the fifth, but still got the complete-game shutout while striking out seven.

“I have an amazing defense,” said Wright, “and our offense has just been on-point lately, so it’s easy to win when you have this team behind you.”

Chowan will close out their home season next Tuesday against West Virginia State in a double-header beginning at 2 p.m.