Game 1: Charlotte 6, FIU 3
Ryan Czanstowski’s solid start was key for Charlotte (15-25-1, 6-12-1 C-USA) in a 6-3 win at FIU (17-24, 7-12 C-USA).
In the second inning, Rafi Vazquez hit a leadoff single. Drew Ober followed with a double to left field. Ober advanced to third on an error by the shortstop as Vazquez scored to give the 49ers a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, Harris Yett’s RBI single scored Tommy Bullock for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Jose Garcia hit a two-run homer to tie the game.
In the fourth inning, the 49ers responded when Dominick Cammarata hit a two-run homer to left field to extend the lead to 4-2.
In the sixth inning, Javier Valdes scored on Garcia’s RBI single to center field to cut the Niners lead to 4-3.
In the eighth inning, Todd Elwood began with an infield single and he scored on Johnson’s two-out hit up the middle to give Charlotte a 5-3 lead.
In the ninth inning, Bullock scored on Elwood’s single to right field to score the game’s final run.
Czanstkowski pitched five strong innings to pick up the win. Colby Bruce pitched in the eighth and ninth inning to close the game and pick up his sixth save of the season.
“Czanstkowski threw well and our guys had energy tonight,” Head Coach Loren Hibbs said. “We were ready to play and it’s a good win against a FIU team who plays well here at home. When we get solid starting pitching, we get a chance to get in the flow of the game and can be a pretty good team.”
Game 2: Charlotte 10, FIU 9
Charlotte (16-25-1, 7-12-1 C-USA) forced extra innings at FIU (17-25, 7-13 C-USA) and earned a 10-9 victory in 14 innings.
The 49ers and the Panthers went back-and-forth to start the game. After four innings the Niners were down 5-2.
FIU extended their lead to 6-2 when Derek Cartaya hit an RBI single in the fifth.
Charlotte scored two runs in the sixth to cut the deficit to two runs. Yett scored on Vazquez’s sacrifice fly to center field and Johnson scored on Cammarata’s double to left field.
FIU scored three runs in the seventh inning to take a 9-4 lead.
Vazquez, Yett and Ober each hit singles to start the eighth inning. Yett and Vazquez scored on Ober’s single to cut the deficit to three runs heading into the ninth inning.
In the ninth inning, Josh Haney and Austin Lynch led off with base hits for the 49ers. Lynch scored on Elwood’s groundout to first base to bring Charlotte to within two runs. Yett hit an RBI single up the middle to score Haney and Vazquez hit a single down the right field line to score Yett and tie the game at nine.
Both offenses were quiet until the 14th inning. Bullock led off with a walk. After Elwood’s sacrifice bunt, a base hit by Yett pushed Bullock to third with one out. Vazquez hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the game-winning run.
Charlotte registered a new season high with 22 hits in the win, their first 20+ hit performance since April 25, 2017 against Kennesaw State.
“Nothing was going right for us, we didn’t get any breaks early in the game,” Head Coach Loren Hibbs said. “I’m really happy for our players tonight. Our guys really laid it out there tonight. In any sport, if you keep hanging in there and keep playing, good things can happen.”
Game 3: Charlotte 1, FIU 2
FIU (18-25, 8-13 C-USA) avoided a sweep against Charlotte (16-26-1, 7-13-1 C-USA) in a 2-1 win.
In the fourth inning, the Panthers took a 2-0 lead on Garcia’s two-run homer.
Charlotte scored their only run of the game in the ninth inning. Yett doubled to center field which scored Elwood to cut the deficit to one. After Vazquez singled to left putting runners at the corners with one out, Ober hit a line drive to third which was caught and followed with Vazquez being thrown out at first to end the game.
“We did some good things and pitched at a really high level,” Hibbs said. “We just weren’t engaged offensively. We made a good run late, but not enough in the tank offensively today. We’re disappointed, we had a chance to sweep a team that plays well at home.”
Charlotte returns home to face UNCG on Tuesday, April 30 at 6 p.m.