Charlotte played a double header on Friday. The game on Saturday was moved to Friday because of weather issues.
Game 1: Charlotte 4, Western Kentucky 8
Charlotte (11-14, 3-4 C-USA) fell 8-4 at Western Kentucky (13-11, 6-1 C-USA).
Western Kentucky got off to a hot start with a four-run bottom of the first inning. Designated hitter Dillion Nelson hit a three-run home run to give the Hilltoppers a 3-0 lead. Kevin Lambert hit a single, sending Jackson Swiney home to extend the Hilltoppers lead to 4-0.
Charlotte responded with four runs in the top of the second inning. Drew Ober started with a leadoff walk then scored on Austin Lynch’s double down the right field line. Tommy Bullock followed with a two-run home run to left field making it a 4-3 game. Later in the inning, Bullock scored on Carson Johnson’s RBI single into left field tie the game at four.
In the third inning, Western Kentucky added more runs. Swiney knocked a double down the right field line to score Jack Wilson and give the Hilltoppers a 5-4 lead. Then a two-run single up the middle by Lambert scored Matt Phipps and Swiney to extend their lead to 7-4.
In the sixth inning, Nelson hit a sacrifice fly that brought home Davis Sims to give the Hilltoppers an 8-4 lead.
Dalton Shoemake picked up the win in relief for Western Kentucky. Shoemake retired 15 straight batters before giving up a hit to Elwood in the eighth inning.
Game 2: Charlotte 5, Western Kentucky 8
Charlotte (11-15, 3-5 C-USA) lost the second game of the double to Western Kentucky (14-11, 7-1 C-USA) 8-5.
In the second game it was the 49ers who got off to a hot start. In the first inning, Elwood hit a leadoff single to center field. Elwood advanced to second and third on wild pitches. Carson Johnson walked on four pitches. Elwood scored on Bullock’s RBI single to left field to give the 49ers their first lead of the day. Carter Foster hit a two-run double that scored Johnson and Bullock to give the Niners an early 3-0 lead. Dominick Cammarata singled to left as Foster was sent home but called out at the plate.
Western Kentucky put up their first run with a Jake Sanford home run to right field. Ober hit a solo home run to left field, leading off the third inning to push the 49ers lead out to three.
The Hilltoppers responded with a big inning using four runs in the third to take a 5-4 lead. In the fourth inning, the Hilltoppers increased their lead to 6-4 on a Sanford single to right field that scored Ray Zuberer.
In the sixth inning, Austin Lynch walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it a 6-5 game.
Insurance runs came in the seventh and eighth innings for Western Kentucky to secure the victory.
Harris Yett, Elwood and Johnson each had a pair of hits in the game.
The 49ers had 13 hits but stranded 11 on base which includes nine over the final five innings.
“It’s tough to play uphill,” head coach Loren Hibbs said. “We have to do a better job of finding more consistency moving forward. We had at-bats we didn’t need to have with runners in scoring position. Western Kentucky played really well tonight and we didn’t play up to the standard we needed to.”
Game 3: Charlotte 13, Western Kentucky 13
Charlotte (11-15-1, 3-5-1 C-USA) settled for a 13-13 tie at Western Kentucky (14-11-1, 7-1-1 C-USA) due to travel curfew.
In the second inning, Lambert flied out to right center that scored Wilson to give the Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead. Then McElreath flied out to center field to score Phipps to extend the Hilltoppers lead to 2-0.
In the third inning, Charlotte scored six runs to take a four-run lead. Johnson led off with a one-out walk; then, he was moved to third on Elwood’s double and scored on Yett’s infield single. Ober hit a game-tying single to center field. Rafi Vazquez blasted a three-run home run to right field putting Charlotte up 5-2. Bullock connected on an RBI groundout to short to end the inning with the 49ers having a 6-2 edge.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Zuberer walked with the bases loaded as Swiney scored. Sims was hit by a pitch sending Lambert home. Sanford’s two-run single erased the Niners lead tying the game at 6.
The 49ers took the lead back with a big fifth inning. Tate Pennington and Elwood had important roles in the inning. Pennington reached on an error and Elwood singled to the pitcher scoring three runs. Western Kentucky committed two errors and an RBI single by Vazquez rounded out the five-run inning to give Charlotte an 11-6 advantage.
The Hilltoppers came back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 11. Sanford hit a two-run homer to left-center to give the Hilltoppers their first lead in the seventh.
In the top of the ninth inning, Johnson and Elwood each registered one-out singles to start the inning. Johnson scored on an error by the second baseman to bring the 49ers within one run, 12-13. Cammarata was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which tied the game at 13.
In the bottom of the ninth, Colby Bruce registered a 1-2-3 inning getting a pop up, strikeout and groundout to end the game.
Sunday was the 49ers first tie since March 2, 2014 with a 5-5 tie at home against Creighton.
“Nobody wants to play to a tie,” head coach Loren Hibbs said. “We had multiple opportunities with the lead multiple times. It would have been nice to get one more run and come away with a win.”