The Charlotte 49ers kept their winning ways going as they collected their fourth series of the season, winning two out of the three games against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.
Game 1: Charlotte 4, Middle Tennessee 0
Charlotte first got on the board in the 4th inning when sophomore Drew Ober hit a double down left field. Later in the inning, with two outs, Hunter Jones hit a ground ball down third base which resulted in a Middle Tennessee error and a 1-0 lead for the 49ers.
In the sixth inning, Jake Whitcomb delivered a double down center field and moved to third base after a wild pitch by the Blue Raiders. Jones would set Whitcomb up for the run after hitting a line drive to center.
The Niners kept the momentum into the ninth inning as Jackson Mims lead off the inning with a triple down center before junior Harris Yett smashed a two run down left field to give the 49ers a 4 – 0 win. With the hits, both Mims and Yett extended their hit streaks to six.
Pitching was key for the Niners as senior Josh Maciejewski had a strong start on Friday, throwing seven innings with seven strikeouts to get his third win of the season. This was the first road shut out for Charlotte since April of 2017.
Game 2: Middle Tennessee 12, Charlotte 2
The Niners got off to a hot start as Tommy Bullock, Reece Hampton, Mims, and Yett delivered four straight singles with Yett getting the RBI and Drew Ober hitting a sacrifice fly to get an early 2-0 lead.
Blue Raider Aaron Antonini began the rally for Middle Tennessee in the third inning, starting off with a lead-off single, and two batters later, junior LA Woodard hit a double down left field to tie the game.
In the fourth inning, Middle Tennessee’s Blake Benefield smashed a two-run homer to give the Blue Raiders the lead. Another two-run home run would come in the fourth, this time by the bat of Kevin Sullivan.
Middle Tennessee kept the momentum rolling in the fifth inning with LA Woodard, Blake Benefield, and Austin Dennis each collecting RBI’s. Three more runs came in the seventh inning led by a two-out, three-run double by Aaron Aucker to cap off the day.
“We were ready to go and had a really good start,” said Charlotte coach Loren Hibbs. “But we played very poorly in the middle innings, Middle Tennessee got on a roll and we couldn’t get the momentum stopped.”
Game 3: Charlotte 7, Middle Tennessee 5
Scoring began in the third inning with an infield single by Jake Whitcomb, a sacrifice bunt by Bullock, and Mims having a two-run double hit into left field.
The Niners extended their lead to five in the fourth, all with two outs on the board. It all started with a Jones single and a walk to Whitcomb. Bullock then hit one down left field to score Jones. A wild pitch then followed that allowed Whitcomb and Bullock to score on the same play.
The Blue Raiders finally got on the board in the sixth inning by a lead-off double by Myles Christian and a Woodard ground out to short to set up the score by Christian. The Niners immediately got the run back in the seventh by adding two to the scoreboard. Middle Tennessee almost came back in the eighth by scoring four in the inning to cut the lead by two, but that was all that was left in the tank.
Starter Joey Cooner had a great start Sunday, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and having career high nine strikeouts.
The Niners will be back in the Queen City on Tuesday, March 27 when they take on North Carolina at BB&T Ballpark. Game time is set at 7:05 P.M. and can be seen on beIN Sports and be heard on ESPN 730.