The Charlotte 49ers ended the weekend with a win against their conference foe Louisiana Tech, sweeping them in a three game series thanks to a momentum-changing home run by Zach Jarrett on Sunday afternoon. The Niners outscored LA Tech 19-8 throughout the series on their mission to scale up the conference rankings.
Charlotte (10-12, 4-8 C-USA) scored in the first inning in all three games of the series after Brad Elwood hit a zinging long ball to right field, getting past the diving attempt by the LA Tech outfielder and resting at the fence. Elwood ran all the way to third base on the play, bringing Zach Jarrett home to score the first run for the Niners. Unfortunately for the 49ers, LA Tech turned a good hit by Netzer into a double play to end the first inning with the score 1-0.
With runners on first and second, Brent Diaz hit a knuckler to left field that allowed LA Tech to score their first run of the day. From all this aggressive offense, it is clear to see that LA Tech is itching to take the lead. The Bulldogs did just that as another single allowed LA Tech to gain another run, taking control of the game with a 2-1 lead in the third inning.
LA Tech didn’t hold the lead long as Jarrett stepped up to the plate with a plan to win. Jarrett swung with perfect form, nailing a home run out to left field, leaving shocked faces in both dugouts as to how far the ball soared over the wall. With that hulk-ish smash, Jarrett brought home Raley and himself to put Charlotte back on top 3-2.
To begin the fourth inning, LA Tech’s Bryce Stark hit a ball down the third base line that almost reached the fence, allowing him to get a double on the play. A single from Hall gets his teammate to cross home plate, evening the score at 3-3.
For Charlotte, freshman Hunter Jones hit a bouncer right to the pitcher who got a glove on it but couldn’t catch the ball, allowing Jones to get on base. After getting on first, Jones seemed to get into pitcher Laetten Galbraith’s head, as he tried to throw Jones out at first three consecutive times.
Galbraith seemed to be bothered as he walked Raley on four pitches after being occupied by Jones. Then he threw a wild pitch to the next 49er batter, allowing the two Niners on base to advance to second and third. The Bulldogs then intentionally walked Jarrett to load the bases in the bottom of the fourth.
After a meeting on the mound, a bases loaded walk and a fielder’s choice grounder by T.J. Nichting put the Niners back on top 5-3 through four innings. .
After finding an offensive groove, Charlotte stepped it up on the defensive side in the fifth inning, getting three easy pop fly catches to get back in the dugout.
The 49ers began to coast after gaining the lead on the Bulldogs, focusing on their defense and making sure that LA Tech had no chance at a comeback. The next couple of innings were scoreless as both teams got three easy outs in the seventh inning and played some great defense in the eighth inning to make sure no runners got on base. Jones, who was recruited as a pitcher, threw a zinging out at first from third base, showing off his arm.
In the ninth inning, the first batter for the Bulldogs almost got to first base, but was out-ran by Charlotte’s closer and former first baseman, Logan Sherer, for out number one. Jarrett added on to the out tally as he caught a fairly difficult hit to center field and after the next batter, Charlotte got the third and final out to end the game.
The Niners will return to action Tuesday night when they battle the N.C. State Wolfpack at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte. Tuesday’s game will be the first collegiate contest played at the brand new home of the Charlotte Knights.