Daniel Citron

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Charlotte uses walk-off to win series against Asheville

The Charlotte 49ers (18-13) were able to pick up another series win, this time against in-state rival UNC Asheville (10-24) over the weekend at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.

Game One
With fireworks planned for after the game, Charlotte was hoping that their bats would produce some similar firepower. They did not disappoint.

UNC Asheville was able to burst out of the gate, taking a 3-2 lead at the end of the first. For the three innings following, that score stood with both Charlotte and UNC Asheville displaying some impressive pitching.

Led by Brett Lang, who finished the day with 3 RBIs and four hits in four at-bats, Charlotte was able to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth, going up 4-3. The 49ers were able to keep pouring it on, scoring runs in the next two innings to take an 8-3 lead. Asheville was only able to respond with a run in the ninth to give Charlotte the 8-4 victory and Coach Hibbs his 650th career win.

Game Two
Asheville had no trouble hitting the ball in game two. Ian Graham, on the second pitch of the game, was able to hit one out of the park for the Bulldogs. It was that type of day for the 49ers moving forward.

Unable to find any sort of offensive or defensive rhythm, the 49ers were unable to capitalize on several opportunities to tie or take a lead.

Graham had a powerful performance, hitting two home runs in his five at bats. A truly game changing player, Graham was able to put momentum in UNC Asheville’s favor. The Bulldogs were able to tie the series up with a 6-3 win.

Game Three
With Asheville desperately needing a series win and the 49ers wanting to avoid dropping a series to an inferior opponent, the third and final game of the series had the makings of a dog fight.

In a back and forth game, no team was able to pull ahead. Asheville jumped out to an early 2-1 lead at the end of the first inning. Charlotte was able to pull back and respond in the second to tie the game at two runs a piece.

Asheville’s bats struck again in the 4th inning to retake the lead, 3-2. But the 49ers would not let them have that lead for long though, tying it back up in the bottom half of the inning.

Charlotte was able to take its first lead of the game at the end of the 6th inning, 5-4. The 49ers were able to build on that lead going up 6-4 heading into the eighth.
Asheville would not go away, putting up two runs in the eighth to tie it back up at six runs a piece. With no runs in the ninth, the game went into extra innings.

Asheville was able to take the lead with a run in the eleventh inning to go up 7-6. All the Bulldogs needed was three outs to get the win and walk out of Charlotte with the series.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the 49ers had other plans. Charlotte was able to bring in two runners and retake the lead for the final time grabbing the win and the series, 8-7.

Charlotte will host Winthrop this Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Bynum earns Performer of the Week

Charlotte continued to rack up track and field hardware this weekend, with freshman Anthony Bynum winning the Atlantic 10 (A-10) Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Performer of the Week.

Bynum, a homegrown prospect from Charlotte,  N.C., ran his first 400-meter dash in Virginia this weekend and won with a time of 47.29 seconds. His time ranks fourth on Charlotte’s all-time 400-meter dash list.

The 400-meter dash was not the only event Bynum performed well in. He placed third in the 100-meter dash with blistering speed and a time of 10.68.

Bynum ran the third leg of the 4×100-meter relay, an event that the 49ers won with an overall time of 40.36.

The future is bright for Bynum. The freshman has the potential to be a superstar for the Charlotte track and field team.

Bynum will likely see the track again soon in Gainesville, Fl. Charlotte will head down to Florida for their next meet, scheduled for April 4-6.

25th ranked VCU pummels Charlotte

The Charlotte 49ers (10-6) men’s tennis team lost to the formidable, 25th nationally-ranked Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rams (15-4) in Richmond, Va. on Friday,  6-1.

The loss ended the 49ers’ five-match winning streak.

VCU roared out of the gate and won all three doubles matches to claim the match’s doubles point. Charlotte was unable to put up much of a fight in the No.1 or No.2 doubles spots. They lost both matches 8-3 and 8-5 respectively.

The 49ers’ No.3 doubles team fought hard to prevent the sweep, but fell in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (7-3).

Charlotte was unable to halt VCU’s momentum in singles, with Alex Calott of Charlotte getting completely swept by Alejandro Argente of VCU, 6-0, 6-0. Things did not improve much for the 49ers from there, with Charlotte dropping the next four singles matches, all in straight sets.

Sophomore Kamil Khalil did provide one bright spot for the 49ers. He beat Claes Goransson of VCU, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, to get Charlotte on the board. The win moved the freshman sensation to 8-5 on singles matches for the season.

While this match was disheartening for the 49ers, it was not totally unexpected. VCU is adding another exceptional season to it’s storied tradition. They have beaten the likes of Chapel Hill, Michigan State, Wake Forest, and South Carolina among many other programs.  At this rate, they will make the NCAA tournament with a high seed.

Charlotte, on the other hand, will have a chance to redeem itself. The 49ers will hit the road for a match against in-state rival, East Carolina University, on March 24 in Greenville, N.C.

Women’s tennis squeezes out victory over NC Central

The Charlotte 49ers (7-4) women’s tennis team was able to pick up a hard-fought 4-3 victory against the in-state foe North Carolina Central University Eagles (9-4) ending a three-match losing streak on Saturday at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex.

Charlotte exploded out of the gate winning the doubles point. The 49er’s No.3 doubles team cruised to an easy 8-0 victory. Charlotte was quickly able to follow up, clinching the point with the No.1 doubles team winning, 8-5.

NCCU struck back and jumped out to an early lead in singles play. Charlotte responded with Iveta Guneva and Anna Ekelund coasting to a win at the No.6 and No.5 singles, 6-1, 6-0, and 6-3, 6-1 respectively.

All was not smooth sailing for Charlotte as Sophomore Lisa Grosselius struggled at No.3 singles and was put away handily by Aissa Muamba of NCCU 6-2, 6-2.

Intensity picked up on court four with Rebecca Wood of NCCU and Tyler Baker of Charlotte battling in a intense three set match. After winning the first set, Baker was unable to hold off Wood and dropped the next two sets as well as the match, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The most entertaining match of the day was played on court one between Charlotte’s Alexandra Zinn and NCCU’s Olesya Palko. The tightly contested match included all the drama including massive overhead slams, long rallies, tiebreakers and questionable line calls. In the end, Charlotte’s Zinn was unable to pull out the big win and dropped the match, 7-6 (8), 7-5.

Charlotte’s Natsuko Takayanagi was able to clinch the match for Charlotte picking up a 6-2, 6-1 win against a visibly ill Ekaterina Nekrasova of NCCU. With the Takayanagi win, Charlotte was able to snap a three-match losing streak and move to 7-4 on the season.

NCCU Head Coach David Nass commented on the match in saying  “[We] played to our capability and that’s all I can ask out of my team. We know that Charlotte is a solid team. I want to thank Coach Gorman for inviting us back.”

While Coach Nass was happy with the effort, Charlotte’s Head Coach Michaela Gorman did not seem as pleased. “I felt like we had moments where we played pretty well and I felt like we had moments where we could played a little bit better,” Gorman said. He added that they are excited to get back out on the courts Monday, and are “working hard on the things that we didn’t feel like we did perfectly today.”

Charlotte comes back to Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex this Tuesday as they go up against the Wofford Terriers (5-6) at 2:30 p.m.

Women’s tennis falls to Appalachain State at home, 4-3

In this women’s tennis match up, the Charlotte 49ers (6-2) could not extend its four-game winning streak, dropping a tight match, 4-3, to the Appalachian State Mountaineers (6-1) on Monday at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex.

The 49ers struggled right out of the gate, dropping the number two and number three double matches 8-4 and 8-3 respectively, letting Appalachain State clinch the doubles point for the match.

This proved to be the difference as Charlotte was unable to recapture the edge, splitting singles matches with Appalachain State and losing the match 4-3.

Despite the loss, Charlotte did have some positives to take away from the match. The 49ers’ youth in Natsuko Takayanagi and Lisa Grosselius kept Charlotte in the match with wins at the number two and number three single spots. Senior leader Anna Ekelund was also able to cruise to an easy win at her number five singles spot.

In spite of the efforts of these ladies, Appalachain State was able to hold off Charlotte, handing the 49ers their second loss of the season.

Charlotte will get a chance for redemption when they host the Furman Paladins (1-3) at Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex, Feb. 23 at noon.