Cary, NC – The Chowan University Hawks came back from opening the day with a loss to downing Winston-Salem State University in two games for their first-ever CIAA Baseball Championship Title. The Hawks recorded a 12-2 score in game one and pushed through to upset the Rams 7-2 in the second battle.
In the first game, Winston-Salem State and Chowan University started off slow as the Hawks grew their lead scoring a game-high of seven runs in the eighth inning. At the top of the first, Hawks outfielder Connor Arcobasso drilled a line drive which was bobbled by the left fielder, allowing him to make it to second base. Later, teammate Wade Wyatt, Jr. sent the ball up the middle while Arcobasso ran for home.
The Rams came in late, scoring when Landon Steiner hit his second home run of the tournament. At the top of the sixth, Chowan capitalized on a walk, double by Jack Downun, and an error to score three more. The Rams' only answer was another home run, this time by Willie McRae.
The fate of the game was sealed when CU hit three singles in a row followed by two more singles and a double for a huge seven run inning. The Hawks took the victory 11-2, prompting a tiebreaker game to fulfill the double elimination bracket.
Pitcher Matt Kaplan pitched all eight innings for the Hawks, holding the opponent to seven hits and two runs while recording two walks and giving up two home runs. Emory Chopp and Jack Downum posted three RBIs each, Arcobasso, Will Gurganus, and Wyatt, Jr. finished the game with two.
The second game started as a back-and-forth battle as each team fought for the trophy. The Hawks were the first to strike, but not until the bottom of the third inning. With runners on second and third, Wyatt Jr. hit a single bringing in Will Gurganus.
WSSU’s Jason Baytop was walked by pitcher Taylor Scearce, forcing Michael McNamara to home plate. The next inning, the Rams scored their final run on a sacrifice fly by Randy Norris. The remainder of the game was history as the Hawks tallied one in the seventh and rallied for five in their final at-bat of the game.
2016 CIAA Baseball All-Tournament Team
MPV: Matt Kaplan - Chowan
Zach Cooper - Chowan
Wade Wyatt, Jr. - Chowan
Jack Downum - Chowan
Marquis Johnson - Saint Augustine’s
Ricardo Martin - Saint Augustine’s
Michael McNamara - Winston-Salem State
Landon Steiner - Winston-Salem State
Willie McRae, Jr. - Winston-Salem State
Randy Norris - Winston-Salem State
Connor Arcobasso - Chowan
Justin Norton - Winston-Salem State