The Charlotte 49ers (10-24-1, 3-13) picked up 2-0 victory at Robert and Miriam Hayes Stadium on Thursday night in a pitchers duel against their Conference USA foe the Tulane Green Wave (15-21, 6-12). Corey Roberts (1-3) got the start on the mound for the 49ers and delivered the first complete-game shutout for Charlotte this season.
Roberts was nearly untouchable for the 49ers, working all nine innings while allowing just three hits and punching out seven Green Wave batters. Roberts tossed a career-high 129 pitches and became the third Charlotte pitcher to register a complete game in the past two weeks.
“Roberts actually got better as the game went on even though he was pitching on short rest due to the Thursday night game,” said 49ers Head Coach Loren Hibbs postgame.
“I’m going to tell you right now, strength and conditioning matters a lot. Donny Smith, our strength coach, does a fantastic job with our guys.”
The Charlotte bats were kept quiet for much of the night, but the 49ers finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Des Roberts ripped a double down the right field line to lead off the frame for Charlotte and advanced to third on a bunt from Corbin Shive. Jordan Hudson then stepped to the plate and lifted a sacrifice-fly to center field which plated Roberts and gave the 49ers a 1-0 lead that would prove to be enough with Roberts dealing on the rubber.
Charlotte kept the momentum going and added another insurance run in their half of the eighth inning. Derek Gallello got the inning started with a single which was followed immediately by a Brett Lang double to set the plate for second baseman T.J. Nichting. Nichting delivered the second run of the game for the 49ers, scoring Gallello from third with a sacrifice-fly to right field to cap the scoring for the night at 2-0.
“I thought we locked in and played really well in the last three or four innings. Tulane’s got a great program and to come in and beat them in the first game of the series is good for our young guys,” said Hibbs.
Charlotte and Tulane will battle in game two of the series tomorrow afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. RHP Ryan Butler (2-5, 4.17) will get the start on the mound for the 49ers in the contest.