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College baseball: Army stars Rowley, Earls earn Patriot League honors
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Forsyth County News



Two Forsyth County baseball standouts now playing at Army were recognized by the Patriot League earlier this week as the conference handed out its weekly awards.

Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Rowley (South Forsyth, 2009) was named Pitcher of the Week for the second consecutive week, while freshman infielder Harold Earls (West Forsyth, 2011) earned Rookie of the Week and College Sports Madness Patriot League Player of the Week honors.

Rowley pitched Army to a 9-2 victory over UMBC on Saturday night, and Earls batted .700 during the Black Knights’ three-game series against the Retrievers.

Rowley struck out a career-high 10 batters over eight strong innings in leading Army past UMBC in the middle game of the teams’ three-game series.

The Duluth native appeared to get stronger as the game wore on, registering five of his 10 strikeouts after the fifth inning. Rowley, who retired the last 13 batters he faced, yielded just two runs on five hits in eight innings of work.

His 10 strikeouts surpass his previous career high of eight, which he established versus Holy Cross last season.

Rowley (2-0) is off to a strong start in the 2012 campaign. He leads the Black Knights’ pitching staff with 19 strikeouts in 19.2 innings, and opponents are hitting only .156 against him. The third-year hurler has allowed five walks and three earned runs in his three starts.

Rowley collected Pitcher of the Week laurels last week following his two-hit shutout of George Washington on Feb. 25. He has won the league’s weekly pitching plaudits three times over the last two seasons.

Earls, meanwhile, becomes the second Army freshman to nab the conference’s Rookie of the Week accolades, joining Alex Jensen, who took home the certificate following the Black Knights’ season-opening weekend at High Point.

The Cumming native was terrific offensively throughout Army’s three-game series at UMBC last weekend. The first-year third baseman hit safely in seven of his 10 at-bats (.700) and recorded a slugging percentage of .800.

Earls began his productive weekend by going 1-for-2 with an RBI and a stolen base as Army rallied to defeat UMBC in the series opener, 5-3 in 10 innings. He exploded at the plate in the Black Knights’ 9-2 win over the Retrievers in the middle game of the three-game set, going 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored.

He set career highs in hits, runs and RBI in that contest, while also playing well defensively. Earls capped the weekend with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate. He recorded his first career double, scored twice and drove in a run during the series finale.

For the season, Earls is batting .500 (10-for-20) with six runs scored and six RBI. He also lists among the team leaders in on-base percentage (.522) and slugging percentage (.550).

Army (5-4) will travel to Florida (March 10-17) for its annual spring break trip. The Black Knights, who have won five of their last seven contests overall, will open their seven-game docket in the Sunshine State on Saturday, when they face Sacred Heart in a doubleheader.