The Charlotte 49ers (3-2) used a four-run eighth inning to sneak by the Rider Broncs (0-1) Friday night at Robert and Mariam Hayes 4-2, backed by solid outings from Colton Laws and Philip Perry.
“We knew we were going to have a challenge coming in,” head coach Loren Hibbs said. “We got off to a poor start but found our rhythm and played well over the late innings. We did what we needed to do against a really good pitcher and grinded one out.”
After not scoring for the first seven innings, Hunter Jones led off the eighth inning for Charlotte with a five-pitch walk. After a pitching change to relieve Nick Margevicius of the Broncs, Netzer drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Following Netzer, Jackson Mims singled through the left side, loading the bases for Logan Sherer.
The senior from Matthews, North Carolina, laced a single into left field, scoring Netzer and Jones to tie the game in the eighth, 2-2. The 49ers were not done yet as T.J. Nichting hit another shot into left, loading the bases for sophomore Drew Ober.
Ober, on the first pitch of his at-bat, singled through the right side, scoring Mims from third and moving Nichting to second and Sherer to third. Up 3-2, Zack Smith capped off the scoring with a single to the shortstop, scoring Nichting for the fourth and final run of the ballgame.
Rider got on the board early against Laws, scoring two runs in the top of the first after a single and stolen base from Kyle Johnson, followed by a Lee Lipinski double to left-center, scoring Johnson and Jake Bender who reached on a walk.
Over the next six innings, Laws (7.0 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 6 SO) settled in and retired 14-straight Rider batters, keeping Charlotte in the game. Margevicious answered with his own solid outing, throwing seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out three batters and giving up one run.
Perry (W, 1-0) shut the door for Charlotte out of the bullpen, striking out two batters, while giving up one-hit through two innings.
Charlotte and Rider will continue the four-game series on Saturday with a double-header starting at 12 p.m. Zach Flanagan is the projected starter for the 49ers in the first game with Josh Maciejewski projected to start in the second.