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.
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.
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.
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.