The Charlotte 49ers (7-2) used a strong outing from Colton Laws and two strong innings out of the bullpen from Jonah Patten to squeeze by the Xavier Musketeers Friday night 2-1 at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium, striking out 11 Musketeers along the way.
“Today was a really good, hard-fought game,” head coach Loren Hibbs said after the game. “Xavier has a good team, Lowther was pretty darn good. We played tremendous defense and were solid all the way around. Laws and Patten were both good today. We have a lot of confidence in them.”
Brett Netzer got the scoring going in the sixth inning as he reached on a bunt-single off of Xavier’s left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther (L, 1-2) to lead off the inning. Jackson Mims followed Netzer’s hit with a knock of his own, lacing one down the third base line to put runners at first and second. T.J. Nichting moved both runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice fly as Logan Sherer capped off the small-ball play with a grounder up the middle, scoring Netzer to break the 0-0 tie.
With one out in the eighth, Mims got his second hit of the day with a double to left-center, followed by a bloop-double down the right field line to switch places with and score Mims for the second run of the ball game.
Jonah Patten got the call out of the bullpen for the six-out save, capturing three strikeouts along the way. Things got intense in the ninth when Xavier scored a run and had the tying run at third with two outs, but Patten went to the slider to seal the deal for Charlotte and preserve Laws’ win.
Laws had one of his most dominant starts as a Niner, striking out eight batters through seven innings, only allowing four hits along the way. 76 of his career-high 103 pitches were strikes. The 6-foot-8 right-handed pitcher received plenty of help in the field, as Logan Sherer got a timely double play in the first inning and Reece Hampton skied for a ball in center to preserve a run.
Charlotte’s LHP Josh Maciejewski (0-0, 2.77 ERA) will take the mound Saturday at 1 p.m. against Xavier’s RHP Garrett Schiling (1-0, 0.69 ERA).