Charlotte (27-20, 13-10 C-USA) continued their late season hot streak against WKU (21-26. 11-13 C-USA). The three-game series started off with a low-scoring affair and ended with an intense slug-fest.
Game 1: Charlotte 4, WKU 2
Game 1 was the quietest of the three games offensively, thanks to Charlotte’s senior pitcher Josh Maciejewski’s 8.2 inning performance. He earned his seventh win of the season and help the 49ers secure the first victory of the contest.
Very little action occurred during the first two innings. WKU struck first when a Luke Brown bunt followed by a walk allowed a sac fly by Jacob Rhinesmith to bring in the first run. WKU scored their last run of the evening in the top of the fifth from Charlotte’s only error of the night making the score 2-0.
Charlotte quickly responded with Dominick Cammarata hitting a lead-off double. Jackson Mims brought in Cammarata off a fly-out to center making it 2-1 at the end of the fifth.
The 49ers turned the game around in the sixth inning. Drew Ober started off the frame with a single followed by Zack Smith pushing him to second on a sac bunt. Ober scored from back-back wild pitches by WKU tying up the game. Tommy Bullock scored on a walk by Cammarata putting up the score to 3-2. Todd Elwood followed with a single and a squeeze by Hunter Jones brought in the final run of the night. Good defense by Charlotte put the game away for the 4-2 final.
Game 2: Charlotte 6, WKU 4
The Saturday contest played out almost the same way the opener did but it was a lot more competitive. Unlike the opener, Charlotte scored first in the third inning. They started off with a Harris Yett walk and an Ober single to left field. A wild pitch advanced both runners. Tommy Bullock brought in Yett with a perfect squeeze. Cammarata followed up with a hit to third bringing in Ober. A later error made it 3-0. WKU responded with a solo home run by Rhinesmith in the fourth.
The 49ers kept the ball rolling in the fifth when Ober hit a single to left. After Ober was pushed to third, Elwood brought him in extending the lead. More errors by WKU made it 5-1 by the end of the frame.
WKU started to comeback late in the contest scoring a single run in the sixth and two in the seventh innings. Charlotte extended the lead by one in the seventh due to Jones bringing in Cammarata for the final run of the night.
Solid defense again closed out the night for the final score at 6-4.
“It was ugly,” said 49ers Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “We still have some really good players who haven’t played well in the first two games of this series. It was another tough game. We hung there and got the job done.”
Game 3: Charlotte 8, WKU 9
The final game of the series was a grand finale to a very competitive series. It felt like a boxing match with both fighters trading punches all day long. Both teams exploded offensively leading to a nail-bitter all the way to the last out.
WKU started off the slug fest within eight pitches by back-to-back doubles. Another double brought in the first run of the day making it 1-0 A few batters later brought in the next run on a ground out.
Charlotte responded quickly with a run of their own run. Reece Hampton started them off with a double to left-center. Mims advanced him to third and Hampton scored by Yett’s single.
WKU scored four runs off a costly Charlotte error making the score 6-1. If you’ve been following the 49ers all year long, they’re no stranger to huge comebacks.
Charlotte responded the very next frame with four runs as well. Hampton and Mims hit a single to start the frame. After Yett hit his own single, Ober hit a sacfly to bring in the first run of the frame. Elwood and Jones brought in the rest of the runs making it 6-5.
Charlotte continued to score the next inning bringing in two more runs making it 7-6 .
WKU’s Brunson hit a solo home-run tying it up at seven a piece in the sixth. Charlotte again responded with a Cammarata sacfly bringing in Ober to lead by one.
WKU had the last laugh scoring the last two runs of the contest in the top of the seventh. Rhinesmith hit a tying fly-out just before Collie Currie’s RBI triple made it final 9-8. Charlotte could not respond to WKU in the last two innings. Even in the loss it was a hard-fought ending.
After the series, Charlotte currently stands fourth in the C-USA rankings. Up next for the 49ers is their final home series against Marshall starting Friday at 6:00 p.m.