The Charlotte 49ers (16-12, 5-4 C-USA) dropped two out of three for the first time this season in Norfolk, Virginia to the Old Dominion Monarchs, as Colton Laws continued his dominance, securing his fourth win of the season Saturday afternoon.
After Mother Nature won on Friday, the two teams were able to set up for a double header on Saturday, as Laws (W, 4-0) tossed 7.0 innings of four-hit baseball, striking out five batters and only allowing one run on 88 pitches. J.D. Prochaska (S, 2) only allowed one hit in two innings of relief on 28 pitches, giving Charlotte a close 3-1 victory to open the three-game series.
Logan Sherer got the Niners on the board when he singled up the middle to score T.J. Nichting, who recorded two hits and two stolen bases on the day. The 49ers added to their lead in the fourth inning, as Nichting got the inning started with a one-out single down the left field line. With two outs, Zack Smith cranked a ball over the fence in right to give Charlotte a 3-0 lead.
ODU got their only run in the bottom of the sixth, but the pitching of the Niners proved too strong for the Monarchs.
It was a pitchers dual in the second game of the double header on Saturday, as Josh Maciejewski (L, 3-2) threw 5.0 innings, walked five, struck out four and gave up only three hits on one unearned run. Matt Horkey and Brandon Vogler also came in for Charlotte, each throwing over one inning and 20 pitches.
Adam Bainbridge threw a complete game, four-hit shutout, including seven strikeouts on 102 pitches for Old Dominion, picking up his Conference USA’s leading sixth win of the season.
The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the sixth, as ODU added on a run after a throwing error from Jackson Mims. The Monarchs scored their next run in the seventh on three hits in the inning, giving Bainbridge a two-run cushion.
Charlotte only recorded two hits in the second game of the double header, dropping the game 2-0, making for a rubber match in the Sunday finale.
The rubber match played a lot like the second game of the series, with the Monarchs scoring their runs in the later innings in the pitchers dual. Zach Flanagan (L, 2-3) allowed two runs through 5.1 innings, striking out three batters on 66 pitches.
Matt Brooks allowed one run through 2.1 innings, as Prochaska came in and recorded one out with one strikeout.
In the sixth, ODU used a two-run home run from Vinnie Pasquantino to take the lead, proving to be the only runs needed for the Monarchs to take the C-USA series. The Monarchs scored one more run in the eighth, winning 3-0 and winning the series.
The 49ers finished the series not scoring in 23 consecutive innings after Smith’s home run in game one, while also being shutout in back-to-back games for the first time since April of 1990.
Charlotte will come back to Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium as they host Winthrop for a 6 p.m. first pitch.