The Charlotte offense clicked on all cylinders Tuesday night against UNC Asheville, cranking out a season-high 17 hits and 14 runs at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium, backed by a 4-for-5 day at the plate for Zach Jarrett, including a two-run home run and career-high five RBI.
“Guys came ready to play,” head coach Loren Hibbs said. “We came out of the shoots really swinging the bats well and played good defense in adverse conditions and I’m just proud of the effort.”
The Bulldogs (7-8) came out strong in the top of the first against Charlotte’s Sean Geoghegan, as the redshirt senior allowed a three-run home run to Brandon Lankford with one out, digging the 49ers into an early hole. The Niners responded in the bottom half of the inning as Reece Hampton walked to lead things off. After a groundout from Brett Netzer to send Hampton back to the dugout, Jackson Mims singled to right-center to put runners at first and second. T.J. Nichting followed Mims’ single with one of his own, setting up a bases loaded situation for Jarrett.
The senior from Hickory singled through the right side to bring in Netzer and Mims, with Asheville still up 3-2. Logan Sherer kept the team hit-streak going in the first, singling up the middle to score Nichting. Freshman Zack Smith recorded the fifth-straight hit for the Niners’ offense, scoring Jarrett for the fourth run of the inning. Charlotte scored the last run of the inning after a groundout from Hunter Jones to the second baseman, scoring Sherer.
Charlotte (11-6) kept the ball rolling in the second inning, as Mims recorded his second hit of the day to left field, stealing second on the next pitch. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Jarrett hit a long home run to center field, giving the 49ers a 7-3 lead. After singles from Sherer and Smith, Jones singled down the right field line to score Sherer to give Charlotte an 8-3 lead after two innings.
Jacob Craver got the call out of the bullpen for Charlotte, throwing 2.2 innings, only giving up two hits and striking out three batters. When Craver took over, the 49ers continued to pour it on UNC Asheville in the third and fourth innings, putting up two in the third and three in the fourth. Nichting’s triple highlighted the third inning, as Jarrett and Sherer both picked up another RBI. Netzer became the ninth Charlotte batter to record a hit Tuesday night, smacking a three-run home run down the right field line to give Charlotte a 13-3 lead.
The 49ers scored one more run in the fifth and rode the arm of freshman Colby Bruce (W, 1-0) through the next 3.1 innings, striking out three batters along the way. Asheville tagged on two runs in the eighth off of Bruce, as Austin Wynn capped off the night with a perfect ninth inning, recording his first strikeout of the season.
The Niners will pack their bags as they travel to Florida International to take on the Panthers for a three-game series starting at 7 p.m. Friday night in Miami, Florida.