Petersburg, VA – The Rams of Winston-Salem State University defeated the Hawks of Chowan University Saturday afternoon in a two-game championship battle. The Rams blew out the Hawks 10-1 in the first game, 10-4 in the second of the 2017 CIAA Championship finals at Virginia State University.
Winston-Salem State and Chowan baseball teams met for the second year in a row in the conference championship contest. In this year's battle, the Rams defeated the Hawks after a two-game championship blowout to secure the team's 6th trophy is 7 years.
Winston-Salem State jumped the board in the top of the first inning with sophomore Randy Norris scoring the first run of the game. After a groundout, the Rams produced a double for the opening run.
Marquise Lanier picked up the first hit for the Hawks with a single to right field while Zack Cooper drew a two-out walk, but would be left stranded to end the inning.
The Rams extended their lead 3-0 in the top of the third with back-to-back runs from junior Brandon Ford and CIAA Baseball Player of the Year, senior Ivan Acuna. Chowan committed three errors in the inning leading to two runs.
Chowan was able to scratch across a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut into the deficit, 3-1. Marvin Harrell Jr. reached on a bunt single to lead-off the inning. Zack Cooper doubled to left field to put both runners in scoring position. Harry Markotay grounded out to the shortstop to bring home Harrell Jr. for the first run of the contest.
WSSU tacked on some insurance runs in the top of the fifth pushing their advantage out to 6-1 on four hits.
The Rams added a run in the sixth and eighth innings before posting two more runs in the top of the ninth to finish 10-1.
Striking first again, Winston-Salem jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the opening inning of the winner-take-all championship game. Chowan was able to get the first two outs of the inning before the Rams four straight hits together following a two-out walk.
Trent Brosdahl picked up the first hit for the Hawks on a single up the middle in the second inning. Julian Lopez moved Brosdahl into scoring position after being hit by a pitch, but both were left stranded.
The Rams would take a commanding 7-0 lead in the bottom of the second, scoring three more runs with two outs. Back-to-back singles allowed CIAA All-Tournament MVP Emilio Abreu to hit a three-run homer to left to widen the gap.
Chowan would answer with three runs in the top of the third inning to close the gap to 7-3. Tyler Jones doubled to left center to start the inning. Marquise Lanier put runners on the corners with a one-out single down the left field line. Lanier would swipe second before Zack Cooper delivered a two-out double to score Jones and Lanier. A single by Brosdahl would bring home Cooper.
Once again, the Rams scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth from hits off of junior Randal Ortiz and senior Landon Steiner. Winston-Salem State also racked up another run in the fifth to advance their lead 10-3.
Chowan would close the gap to 10-4 in the top of the eighth inning. Robert Williams singled to right and moved to second on the misplay to start the inning. Harry Markotay moved Williams to third on a base hit to left. With two outs, Tyler Jones brought home Williams from third with a single through the right side of the infield.
2017 CIAA Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team
#28 Cody Smith | Pitcher | Chowan
#27 Jordan Carlton | Pitcher | Winston-Salem State
#1 David Markins | Catcher | Virginia State
#2 Landon Steiner | First Base | Winston-Salem State
#4 Julian Lopez | Second Base | Chowan
#7 Emilio Abreu | Third Base | Winston-Salem State
#5 Marvin Harrell | Shortstop | Chowan
#14 Colton Gunn | Designated Hitter | Virginia State
#14 Timothy Carter | Outfielder | Saint Augustine's
#21 Harry Markotay | Outfielder | Chowan
#22 Brandon Ford | Outfielder | Winston-Salem State
#7 Ivan Acuna | Utility | Winston-Salem State
Tournament MVP: #7 Emilio Abreu | Winston-Salem State