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Huskies hitting their stride

Chris Carmain allowed five runs on Feb. 15 at the University of Houston in his first pitching appearance since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his throwing elbow 18 months ago.

But the reliever-turned-starter improved his stat line in his second outing of the season and then earned his first victory in two years last Friday, allowing just two runs in five innings against Chicago State.

“It was strange being back on the mound in an uncontrolled setting,” said Carmain, a team captain who is expected to anchor the squad’s trio of starting pitchers. “It was refreshing and at the same time nerve-racking knowing my opponent is trying to beat me and get me out of the game.”

[media-credit name=”Chris Carmain” align=”alignleft” width=”225″][/media-credit]Carmain’s improvement on the mound over his first three starts has reflected that of his team’s, which has won four games in a row after losing four of the first six. Starters Nick Berger and Kevin Ferguson and closer Dylan Maki have been instrumental to the club’s success, allowing only 12 runs in 43 2/3 innings.

“We have stability in the pitching staff,” said manager Neil McPhee. “The rotation has had a few ups and downs, but overall it has looked strong.”

“The pitching staff has never had more depth,” added Carmain. “It leads me to believe that we should win the Colonial Athletic Association championship.”

The offense, too, has started to hit its stride, scoring nearly five runs a game. Hard-hitting sophomore third baseman Jason Vosler is leading the team with a .405 average, 17 hits, and 12 runs batted in. Junior outfielder Aaron Barbosa, who last year set the school record for hits in a season with 76, is toting a .316 average and a team-leading nine runs and five steals.

“Vosler and Barbosa are the keys to the offense, which is our team’s biggest strength,” said McPhee, pointing to the fact that his club has outhit its opponents through its first 10 games.

The team includes a dozen new players, all of whom McPhee said would get a chance to showcase their talent at the plate, in the field, or on the mound. “They play bit parts now, but we’re trying to play everybody in the first few games,” he said. “We will soon find out where everything falls.”

The Huskies are currently playing in the 2013 Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., and will begin the CAA portion of their schedule on Friday at Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va.

After capping a season-long 13-game road trip, the Huskies will play their first home game of the season on March 13 against Brown University at Friedman Diamond.