Diamond Hawks grow up

Published 8:41 am Friday, April 10, 2009

MURFREESBORO, N.C.— The Chowan University baseball team had won 11 of its last 12 games entering the week, and a lot of it had to do with offense.

On Sunday, the Hawks pounded Saint Paul’s College 27-1 and 22-1 to up their record to 20-11 on the season. Mike Taylor, a junior transfer from Wingate University, drove in 12 runs and whacked three homers over the two games.

Chowan’s top two hitters — Taylor and Justin Bagbey — are tearing it up. Bagbey, hitting .510 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs through Chowan’s first 30 games, is in the top five for batting average in NCAA Division II. Bagbey, a freshman first baseman from Halifax County (N.C.) High School, drove in seven runs over the weekend.

“He is ranked in the top 15 for homers per game and ranked high in slugging average,” said Aaron Carroll, Chowan head baseball coach. “He is having an outstanding year.”

Taylor, a leftfielder, was hitting .385 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs through 30 games.

Even the pitching has started to come through. Carroll said seven of his 12 pitchers are freshmen.

“As the season has gone by, they have learned to pitch at the college level,” Carroll said. “Our ERA is down to about 5.60 right now. With aluminum bats, that is pretty good.”

The Hawks are a young team, which should bode well for next year when Chowan joins the CIAA. The Hawks have gone 5-1 against CIAA schools this spring. Chowan has just two returning starters from last season’s club — second baseman Matt Crane and centerfielder Jordan Whitlatch.

Carroll said Chowan had a goal of picking up an NCAA at-large bid, but the team has lost six games to weather and lost a few key games.

“At one time we were 8-2 against our regional teams, then we lost some games we shouldn’t have,” Carroll said. “We felt like if we could win 30 games, we could have gotten a bid. We lost a lot of games to rain and that hurt us.”

Chowan plays a doubleheader at Southern Virginia University on Saturday and has a home game against Newport News Apprentice School at 2 p.m. Tuesday.