After a tough loss against the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks, the Niners looked to turn things around over the weekend against a solid Coppin State team.
Game 1: Charlotte 3, Coppin State 9
The first game of the series was an early Saturday outing that would see the Niners take an early lead before Coppin State awoke on the offensive end in the sixth inning.
Bryce McGowan started on the mound for the Niners and got off to a great start after walking his first batter. McGowan would strike out Coppin State’s second batter before getting the next two hitters to fly out to right field. McGowan continued his hot start into the sixth inning before finally allowing Coppin State to score on a home run to right field.
Charlotte maintained a lead for most of the game, taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning before adding to that total in the fourth and sixth to make the game 3-1. However, after a Carson Johnson foul out to end the sixth, Coppin State lit up the seventh inning for six runs making the game 7-3 and put Charlotte in a hole that it would not escape.
After the offensive explosion from Coppin State, Charlotte fell flat and was unable to score another run on the day. Coppin State would add two more runs in the top of the ninth to push the lead to 9-3 and seal the game one victory.
Charlotte finished the game with six hits this as opposed to eight for Coppin State but also gave up two errors on the day.
Game 2: Charlotte 7, Coppin State 3
The second game of a double header Saturday saw Charlotte bounce back from a seventh inning debacle that left the Niners wondering what went wrong. Joey Cooner made his second start for Charlotte on the mound while Coppin State saw Rivera Ozuna make his third start of the season.
Coppin State started the second game where it left off: from the earlier affair by totaling three hits in the first inning and scoring a run off of a single to the right side. Charlotte followed this by grounding out twice after a fly out from Johnson. The Niner defense took a stand in the top for the second after a double play from the shortstop to first base followed by a strike out from Cooner.
In the bottom of the second, the Charlotte offense caught fire. Harris Yett started the inning off with a single through the left side followed by a Rafi Vasquez single to the right and a Drew Ober single after a dropped fly ball in right field which led to Yett scoring. After this, Ober and Vasqeuz were both able to advance off of a wild pitch. Finally, Dominick Cammarata homered down the left field line bringing in Ober and Vasquez and giving the niners a 4-1 lead going into the third.
Charlotte extended the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the third after a Tommy Bullock fly out that allowed Todd Elwood to score. After a quick fourth inning that saw both sides record three outs on three batters, Charlotte tallied another run off a Yett double to right field that allowed Bullock to score in the bottom of the fifth. The Niners were unable to further extend their lead when Ober and Josh Haney hit out leaving two runners in scoring position.
Coppin State fought back in the sixth and seventh inning, scoring a run in each inning and closing the gap to 6-3 on the game. However, Charlotte pushed back in the back half of the seventh inning scoring a run with two outs from an Ober fly out that allowed Elwood to score. This pushed the lead back to four runs at 7-3 and gave Charlotte the advantage needed to get their first win of the weekend.
Ryan Czanstkowski came on in the top of the seventh for Mason Herbert and was able to get the last seven outs of the game off six strikeouts. Charlotte advanced to 7-7 on the season with the win and looked towards Sunday afternoon to creep over .500 on the season.
Game 3: Charlotte 14, Coppin State 4
The Niners took the mound on Sunday, March 10 looking to win their second straight game before looking forward to taking on the NC State Wolfpack on Tuesday, March 12.
Both teams started out a tad sluggish when the first inning saw six batters between the two teams and posted three ground outs. Coppin State continued their struggles in the second after striking out twice and grounding out for their third out of the inning. Charlotte would not follow suit, however, as their offense had finally come to play.
After Vasquez struck out to start in the bottom of the second, Ober singled to the shortstop. Haney grounded out immediately after putting Charlotte in a two-out hole. After Ober stole third, Cammarata doubled to right center allowing Ober to score. Johnson then doubled down the line allowing Cammarata to score. Finally, Johnson was able to score on a wild pitch that gave the Niners a 3-0 lead going into the third.
Coppin State continued to struggle in the third when Derek Lohr popped out, followed by a fly out from Conner Walker and a strikeout from Matt Day to end the top half of the inning. They were, however, able to finally get a hit in the fourth when Nazier McIlwain singled to the left side, which was followed by two more hits from Coppin State that saw McIlwain score. Cammarata followed this up for Charlotte by tripling in the top of the fourth and advancing home off of a Johnson single to the shortstop that pushed the lead back to three at 4-1. After Day homered in the fifth to close the gap back to two, Charlotte got two runs of their own in the inning from Yett and Ober off of a single from Ober and a triple from Haney that extended the lead to 6-2.
Charlotte’s offensive dominance continued into the sixth when Johnson and Bullock scored off of a Bullock single and a Yett double to center field. This gave the Niners an 8-2 lead entering the seventh inning stretch. After an Erik Crossman score for Coppin State, Charlotte produced a three-hit, three-run seventh inning that saw Coppin State rotate through three pitchers. With Coppin State unsure on how to stop the high powered Charlotte offense, the Niners followed with a four-hit, three-run eighth inning that extended Charlotte’s lead to 14-3.
Carson Pinkey started on the mound for the Niners, pitching six innings while allowing six hits, three runs and three errors from the defense. Pinkney also recorded six strikeouts on the day and was credited with his second win of the season. Ethan Earhart and Chase Gooding combined for three innings pitched to close out the game and give Charlotte its eighth win of the season.
Charlotte will look for its third straight win Tuesday, March 12 at 7:05 p.m. when they play No. 2 NC State at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte. It will be their first of two games this year in the stadium with their second coming against Clemson later this year. The Niners will look to give State its first loss this season and come away with a statement win that could carry them throughout the remainder of the season.