Chowan splits double dip

Published 6:53 pm Monday, April 4, 2011

MURFREESBORO – You don’t have to win pretty – you just have to get the ‘W’.

In the last month, Chowan University’s baseball team has won the nightcap of a double-header in their last at-bat with: a throwing error by the catcher after a passed ball on a strikeout, a hit batsman with the bases loaded and this past Saturday came another wild finish.

Chowan dropped the opener of an afternoon twin bill with St. Augustine’s College, 7-1, but rebounded with a 10-9 extra-inning victory in the wacky nightcap.

It gave the Hawks a split at Hawkins Field and halving the day put Chowan in first-place in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) race by virtue of having now won 3-of-4 versus the Falcons.

Chowan now stands at 17-14 on the season, as of Sunday, and 13-3 in CIAA play. The Falcons, ranked number 10 in the Atlantic Region by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), currently own a 31-14 overall record (21-3 CIAA).

The Saturday tilt was the first pair of eight games the Hawks will play in four days.  They swept St. Paul’s College Sunday by scores of 18-2 and 4-2.  Monday they traveled to Pennsylvania for a make-up double-header with Lincoln before ending the marathon with a return series in Lawrenceville, Virginia at St. Paul’s today (Tuesday).

“This rain’s got us backed up,” said seventh-year Chowan Head Coach Aaron Carroll, “and we had to use a bit more pitching today than I wanted to; but I told the guys we’ll be thin on pitching the next couple of days so our hitters are going to have to show up and carry the team.”

Saturday’s hero was junior Justin Bagbey, who drove in four runs in the two games; driving in the lone run in game one and capping it off with a three-run homer in the second game. He also scored a pair of runs.

In the first game, both teams scored in the first inning. St. Aug’s put up a lone run in the top of the frame off lefty starter John DesChamps, but the Hawks came back with the equalizer off the bat of Bagbey in the bottom of the frame to score freshman Josh Catalano.

The Falcons went ahead in the top of the fifth inning, but DesChamps didn’t run into trouble until an inning later when they put up five runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away.

DesChamps was saddled with the loss for the Hawks, despite allowing three runs off six hits over six innings.

“We left a lot of guys on base,” said a disappointed Carroll, “and we couldn’t come through with that big hit when we needed it.”

Maybe the Hawks were saving them for the second game because in the first inning they put up six runs on five hits. Two base hits were followed by the big blast: Bagbey’s three-run dinger over the left field wall that helped chase Falcons’ starter Brandon Stewart after getting just one out.

In the second inning, junior Adam Capps delivered Bagbey, who had doubled to right field, to make it 7-0, Chowan.

But the Falcons aren’t nationally ranked for nothing.

Trailing by six runs after four complete innings, they then chased starter and CIAA Player of the Week, Brett Garrett. In all, the Falcons scored six more runs over the next two to tie it at 7-7 before grabbing the lead, 9-7, in the top of the seventh.

Back came Chowan to tie it in regulation with Catalano delivering a one-out single just inside the right field foul line that scored William Ward and Thomas Bird and knot the game at 9-all.

After threats from both teams over the next inning and a half, the Hawks finally got two men on in the bottom of the ninth.

Alex DiDio, the winner of game one, came on in relief only to bobble and throw the ball away on a Ward bunt down the first base line with Colby Wiggins on third, allowing Wiggins to race home with the game winner.

“We’ve got three (CIAA) losses,” said Falcons’ coach Charles Whitaker, shaking his head, “and all of them are to Chowan.”

“St.Aug’s is a good team,” said Carroll, “and if you let them hang around they can beat you.  We scored one run over seven innings, then got six in one inning,” he sighed.  “That’s sort of been the story of our season.”

Chowan returns to Hawkins Field April 9 for a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Shaw.