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Charlotte gets back into winning form after back to back wins against Rice

Charlotte looked to get back to its winning ways on Saturday, April 13 when they took on Rice in the second and third games of a three-game series that started on Friday, April 12. After losing the first game 19-4, the Niners hoped to bounce back strong against its Conference USA foe. The games were up in the air initially when inclement weather rolled into the Charlotte area and threatened to cancel the Saturday double header, but as the day progressed, the weather cleared, paving the way for a Saturday double header. 

Game 1: Charlotte 6, Rice 5

The first game of the double header started with a home run from Rice’s own Trei Cruz who seemed to carry over some momentum from Friday evening. Bryce McGowan started on the mound for Charlotte allowing the opening home run but was able to settle in shortly after. After the opening homer, McGowan was able to fly out the last batter for Rice and move into the bottom of the first with a 1-0 deficit. 

Rice’s defense continued to dominate in the first inning when starting pitcher Evan Kravetz stuck out two Niner batters before getting the third batter to fly out into centerfield. In the top of the second, McGowan continued to settle in, allowing one hit in four at bats and ending the inning after a Justin Collins fly out to center field. As the Charlotte defense began to grow confident, the 49ers looked to its offense for help which came in the bottom of the third inning. 

After a quick top of the third for Rice, Charlotte began to come alive on offense when Tommy Bullock singled to right center field. Next, Jacob Whitley reached on a fielding error allowing Bullock to advance to second. Bullock would eventually score and notch the game at 1-1 when Todd Elwood singled to the left side of the field for an RBI. Harris Yett followed this with a fly out to right field ending the third inning.

Charlotte carried this into the fifth inning when Bullock started the inning by being hit by a pitch. Whitley then reached first from a throwing error allowing Bullock to advance to second. After Tate Pennington struck out swinging, Drew Ober doubled down the right field line, bringing in Whitley and Bullock and making the score 3-1. Once Charlotte got the lead in the fifth, they continued to build on it throughout the game while Rice tried to crawl back into the game.

In the top of the eighth inning, Rice managed to bring in three runs off a single hit after a batter was hit by a pitch and another was walked. This set up two RBI’s when Edwards of Rice recorded a triple, brining in two and making the score 4-3. Rice ended the inning with another run when Cade Edwards scored on a throwing error. 

After a Dominick Cammarata score in the bottom of the eighth, Charlotte needed two to win the game outright in the ninth. With two outs and two on base for the Niners, Cammarata came to the plate needing two to extend the game. Instead, he blasted a single up the middle allowing Elwood and Ober to score, making the game 6-5 and ending it in walk off fashion. After a roller coaster of an afternoon, both teams looked toward the second game which started just a few minutes after game one finished up. It seemed to show as well when Charlotte went into game two with a rejuvenated attitude while Rice looked a bit emotionally defeated. 

Game 2: Charlotte 4, Rice 0

Game two kicked off just after 8 p.m. eastern time. Carson Pinkney started on the mound for Charlotte while Jackson Parthasarthy started for Rice. After a quick first inning for Rice, Charlotte’s offense continued to amaze as Yett was able to homer to the left field and give Charlotte a 1-0 lead. Both teams seemed a little tired from game one as the first three and a half innings saw 24 batters, three hits and one lone run from both teams combined. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Rafi Vasquez led off at the plate with a homer to left center field, giving Charlotte a 2-0 lead off of nothing but home runs. 

Rice got out of the inning without suffering any more damage on the defensive end and started down a 2-0 hole when they took the plate for the top of the fifth. Alas, Rice’s offense was still reeling and was only able to get one hit from seven batters in the inning. 

Charlotte extended its lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when Carson Johnson doubled down the left field line for an RBI, bringing in Austin Lynch to push the lead to 3-0 for the Niners. Rice then followed in the top of the seventh inning by allowing three outs in three batters when Dominic Cox struck out swinging before Brandt Frazier and Braden Comeaux grounded out to end the inning. 

Yett continued his strong outing when he homered for the second time on the day to right field after an Elwood single to left that saw him thrown out at second base. This pushed the lead to 4-0 on the day and proved to be to much for Rice who were unable to get anything going on the offensive end. 

Rice ended the day having allotted three hits and no runs while Charlotte ended with 10 hits and an astounding three home runs. Charlotte also won their second game in a row for the first time since mid-March and snapped a five-game losing streak in their first win of the day over Rice. 

Charlotte is now 14-20-1 on the year and 5-9-1 in conference play. Their next game will be against Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, April 16 when they welcome them to Hayes Stadium at 6 p.m. 

Charlotte gets batted around as Marshall wins the weekend series

Charlotte played host to Marshall over the weekend, welcoming its conference foe to a three-game series at Sue M. Daughtridge stadium that began with a double header Saturday afternoon. 

Game 1: Charlotte 5, Marshall 7

Charlotte began the weekend with Alison Green on the mound who was looking for her first win on the season and started out strong after rounding out the first three batters of the first inning. As the second inning began with the score still tied, Green allowed a single and triple to lead off the inning before a fielding error by the shortstop would allow Marshall to score and go up 1-0. The Niners looked to their offense in the bottom of the second for some support and found it at the hands of Bailey Vannoy and Imani Rochelle, who both singled to the left side before Vannoy was able to score, tying the game at 1-1. 

In the top of the third inning, Marshall looked to increase their lead. After Armani Brown struck out and a runner advanced to second from an error by second base, Aly Harrel homered to center field for Marshall and pushed the lead to 2 at 3-1. However, Charlotte was once again able to stage a quick comeback in the bottom of the same inning when Emma Ocker singled to the catcher before Katie Manring was walked. With two runners on base, Vannoy singled up the middle which allowed two Charlotte runners to score after an error by center field. With the score tied 3-3, both teams entered the fourth looking to separate themselves from each other. 

Marshall started off the inning with a Blakely Burch triple to right field. She was later able to score after a ground out by Hannah Giammarino pushing the lead to 4-3. In the bottom of the fourth, the Niners were unable to once again stage an immediate rally after two batters were struck out looking, followed by a pop up to second base that ended the inning. 

Marshall continued their offensive display in the fifth inning when Stevenson hit a two-run home run to right field extending the lead to three. In the bottom of the sixth, Charlotte restarted their rally with a Berrier single to the shortstop followed by a Spenser Gray single down the left field line. With two runners on base, Meredith Harris stepped up and hit a double to right center bringing in both Berrier and Gray and closing the lead to one at 6-5. This would not last however as Marshall wold once again extend their lead to two in the top of the seventh from a Hayden Ellis single up the middle that allowed Mya Stevenson to score. Charlotte then popped up twice after a fly out from Vannoy that effectively ended the game at 7-5. 

Game 2: Charlotte 0, Marshall 13

The Niners looked at the second game of the afternoon as a way to get back on track after a tough outing earlier in the day but instead saw themselves routed on all ends of the field. Marshall started off the game strong once again when the top of the first inning saw a home run from Giammarino and a three-run home run from Stevenson that made the score 4-0 before Charlotte even had an at bat. Once they did finally take the mound, Marshall made quick work of the Niner offense, getting Berrier and Ocker to ground out after a Gray strike out. In the top of the second inning, Marshall’s offense continued to dominate, totaling three hits and three runs off of one error from the Charlotte outfield that saw the score get pushed to 7-0. 

The deficient seemed a bit to much too overcome at this point as the Niners continued their offensive struggle that saw two ground outs and another fly out to end the second inning in three batters yet again. The first two innings saw Charlotte take six total at bats while Marshall saw 18 batters over the same span. The day only got worse from there as Marshall added three more runs off of three hits in the top of the third that pushed the score to 10-0. 

Maggie Cannon started on the mound for the Niners who looked to record her third win of the season. However, she was unable to make it out of the first inning after the offensive display Marshall put on. When Green came in for relief, she too suffered the same fate Cannon did and saw four runs in less than two innings before being replaced herself by Lauren Riley who would finish the game allowing six hits and six runs while the outfield recorded four errors in her three innings on the mound. 

After a scoreless fourth inning, Marshall once again extended the lead by three to 13-0 off of two errors by the outfield. Charlotte was able to get two on base in the bottom of the fifth inning but saw no runs scored before the final out that ended the game at 13-0. Charlotte moved to 8-14 on the season after dropping its fifth straight game and looked towards Sunday’s matchup as a much needed win to get the season back on track. 

Game 3: Charlotte 11, Marshall 6

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Charlotte took the field hoping to forget about a painful Saturday by putting on a strong performance against Marshall while they looked to continue their offensive dominance into Sunday’s game. Green started on the mound for Charlotte making this their third straight game with at least a inning played; however, she was unable to make it out of the first inning when Marshall allotted four hits and two runs capped off by a Stevenson double that saw Brown score.

With the game at 2-0 before Charlotte even had an at bat, the Niners once again saw themselves in trouble. This time, though, they were prepared as Charlotte started off the bottom of the first inning with a Berrier double down the line followed by an Ocker single that allowed Berrier to score. Harris immediately followed this with a ground out to the pitcher that allowed Ocker to advance to second. After a Manring walk, Vannoy singled to right field, bringing in Ocker and giving Manring and RBI for the game. Lizzy Birch finished off the inning for Charlotte with a single up the middle that allowed Manring to score and gave Charlotte a 3-2 lead going into the second inning. 

After a scoreless second inning that saw one hit from each team, Marshall scored three quick runs in the top of the third to give them a 5-3 lead. This was immediately followed by a quick three outs from the Niners to end the inning and another quick three from Marshall at the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Rochelle singled to right center before a Berrier single to third base. Rochelle was then able to advance to third on a throwing error. Gray then singled to left to field bring Berrier in for the score. After an Ocker strike out, Harris reached on a fielder’s choice which allowed Berrier to score. Finally, Birch was walked, pushing Vannoy to second, Manring to third and bringing Harris home to give Charlotte a 6-5 lead heading into the fifth. It would only get better from here for the Niners, as well as Marshall, would finally start to stall on offense and the next two innings would see Charlotte score an additional five runs to push the lead to 11-6 on the day. 

Carson Pace relieved for Green in the first inning and came on to pitch seven innings allowing eight hits and four runs but giving Charlotte the defensive edge it needed late to seal the victory for the Niners. Pace is now 4-4 on the season with the win over Marshall and will look to carry over this strong performance into their next game against Canisius. 

Charlotte plays host to Canisius on Wednesday, March 20 in Sue M. Daughtridge stadium for a two-game series beginning at 2 p.m.

Charlotte takes series against Coppin State to move to 8-7 overall

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. 

Niners win series 2-1 against Kent State after rain-filled weekend

Charlotte took on Kent State at Hayes Stadium over the weekend in a three-game series that was originally supposed to start on Friday, March 1. However, due to inclement weather that carried over the weekend, Friday’s outing was cancelled and moved to Saturday, creating a double header that would not disappoint. 

Game 1: Charlotte 1, Kent State 0

Charlotte came into the game with a 4-4 record looking to get back on track after a 1-4 five-game stretch. Matt Brooks started on the mound for the Niners looking to continue his strong season with a third straight victory. 

Brooks started out the game by flying out two batters and allowing one hit in the first inning. This defensive momentum would carry on throughout the game as Brooks would go on to hold Kent State scoreless through 6.2 innings pitched and would only allow four hits throughout. As Brooks held Kent State’s batters in check, Charlotte looked to awaken its offense in the second inning. 

After a scoreless first inning for the Niners, Drew Ober followed up a Rafi Vasquez strikeout by singling to first base. Next up, Carson Johnson singled through the left side allowing Ober to advance to second. After Jake Whitcomb grounded out allowing Ober and Johnson to advance, Josh Haney singled to the short stop allowing Ober to score. Charlotte would have taken a 2-0 lead on the play had Kent State’s defense not thrown out Johnson as he attempted to run home on the same play, ending the inning and giving Charlotte a 1-0 lead into the third. 

That one run would prove vital in the game as neither Charlotte nor Kent State would score another run the remainder of the game. 

Chase Gooding came on for the last out of the game, getting him his third save of the year and giving Charlotte its fifth win of the season. 

Charlotte ended the game with nine hits opposed to Kent State’s four. 

The game was immediately followed by game two of the series at Hayes Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

Game 2: Charlotte 7, Kent State 2

Charlotte looked to carry over its game one success into the second bout of the afternoon and wake up a little more on the defensive end while continuing the defensive success from earlier in the day.

Game two would feature three pitchers for the Niners as Bryce McGowan started the game and pitched the first five innings. McGowan started out strong for Charlotte as he was able to hold Kent State scoreless for the first four innings before giving up the first run in the top of the fifth from a double that allowed one of Kent State’s batters to score. However, by the time Kent State got on the board, the game was already well out of reach as Charlotte’s offense had come alive and was dominating the game. 

The Niners started the game off with a single from Johnson to right center followed up by a Haney fly out to infield. After a Harris Yett single that saw Johnson thrown out at second, Ober singled to the pitcher allowing Yett to score off of a throwing error by the third baseman. Next up, Vasquez was walked by the pitcher. This was immediately followed by a Tommy Bullock double down the line that allowed both Ober and Vasquez to score, pushing the lead to three. Finally, Jesse Gonzales singled up the middle allowing Bullock to score extending the lead to 4-0 and ending a busy first inning for the niners. 

After a three-out-five-batter second inning that saw Haney and Yett single to the left side, Charlotte continued its offensive display in the third inning when Vasquez started off the inning with a single to the left side which was followed by a walk for Bullock after being hit by a pitch. Vaquez later scored when the pitcher threw a wild pitch towards Carter Foster. Charlotte wrapped up the inning with Patrick Wheeler’s line out to center field that saw Bullock score, pushing the lead to 6-0. 

The Niners were able to maintain the lead throughout the rest of the afternoon in a day that saw Kent State score two runs off of seven hits. Charlotte ended the seven-run day with 10 hits and five RBI’s. 

Joey Cooner and Patrick Szczypinski combined for four innings-pitched to end the game and get the victory for Charlotte who moved to 6-4 on the season and looked to sweep Kent State out of Hayes Stadium on Sunday morning. 

Game 3: Charlotte 3, Kent State 5

On an overcast Sunday, March 3 that saw heavy rain later in the afternoon, Hayes Stadium played host to a baseball game that morning in which Charlotte tried to overcome a slow start to finish off a series sweep against Kent State. However, the Niners wouldn’t be so lucky after a tough fifth inning that left Head Coach Loren Hibbs shaking his head. 

Carson Pinkney started the game off on the mound for the Niners. It looked to be a strong outing for Pinkney who held Kent State scoreless for four innings before the Golden Flashes went on a fifth inning tear that led to Coach Hibbs bringing in Colby Bruce for a relief effort. Kent State started out the top of the fifth of a scoreless affair by singling to center field. This began a fifth inning for Kent State that would see three hits and four runs while Charlotte allotted two errors by the infield. The Niners were able to get one back in the bottom of the fifth when Dominick Cammarata homered to left field to start the inning, but Charlotte was unable to further capitalize off this and ended the inning facing a 4-1 deficit. 

Kent State extended the lead to 5-1 in the seventh inning after Cam Touchette singled up the middle, then stole second before scoring on a Ben Carew single to left field. Charlotte attempted to rally in the bottom of the eighth inning when Carson Johnson was able to score off of a Foster fly out to the infield and Yett was able to score off a Cammarata single to the left side. This brought Charlotte within two runs as the score was 5-3 entering the ninth inning. However, Kent State’s defense held Charlotte in check for the last three outs and were able to secure their first victory of the weekend, stopping Charlotte three runs short of a series sweep. 

Charlotte now looks ahead to Wednesday, March 6 in Fayetteville, Ark., where they will play a two-game series against the No. 13 team in the country. The Arkansas Razorbacks are coming off of a 15-7 win over Stony Brook while Charlotte will look to stay above .500 on the season. A big win against a top ranked team is exactly what could put Charlotte over the top and allow them to make a run towards the end of the season. 

Charlotte routes Winthrop 9-1 in five innings

After adverse weather throughout the weekend, Charlotte wrapped up the First Pitch Classic with a game against Winthrop on Monday, Feb 25.

Charlotte was coming off of a doubleheader on Sunday, Feb. 23 that saw a tale of two tapes where they both won and lost 9-1 in five innings. The Niners looked at Monday as a way to get back on track, but as the game got underway, it looked like Sunday’s second game struggles were going to continue.

Winthrop started out strong with a couple hits in the first inning that led to an RBI single for Brooke Ellison which allowed Ashley Westbrooks to score, putting Charlotte behind 0-1. However, after a quick three outs in the first inning, Charlotte woke up on the offensive and defensive end in the second inning. Charlotte starting pitcher Maggie Cannon shook the run in the first inning and from then on shut Winthrop down offensively allowing for Charlotte to focus more on its hitting. And that it did.

The Niners started the bottom of the second inning with a hit from Katie Manring who was then able to steal from first to second on a wild pitch moments later. Several batters later, Bailey Vannoy grounded out to second base allowing Manring to score and tying the game at 1-1. Charlotte took the lead minutes later when the catcher was charged with a passed ball that allowed Lizzy Birch to advance home and that put Charlotte ahead 2-1. 

In the top of the third, Cannon continued her second inning success by grounding out the first batter of the inning. After a hit into left, Cannon was again able to get another Winthrop batter to ground out resulting in a double play. 

Emma Ocker started off the bottom of the third with a huge triple play into right center field which was immediately followed by a Kiersten Berrier single to the shortstop that allowed Ocker to score and granted her an RBI. Next, Spenser Gray doubled down the baseline allowing Berrier to get to third and into scoring position. Meredith Harris followed Gray with a pop fly to right field which allowed Berrier to score before Manring grounded out to second base and allowed Gray to score, extending the lead to 5-1.

After a scoreless fourth inning that saw Cannon struck out three straight batters once again, Charlotte exploded in the bottom of the fifth inning for four runs that saw doubles from Gray and Harris, a hit from Berrier and a two-run home run from Manring that allowed Harris to score as well. This explosion led to an eight-run lead that subsequently ended the game early after five innings.

The Niners will look to continue this success at home on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. in Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium. 

Charlotte sweeps Delaware to start the season off strong

Charlotte (3-0) started the season off the right way by sweeping Delaware (0-3) out of Hayes Stadium and setting themselves up for a tough contest at Clemson on Monday, Feb. 18. 

Game 1: Charlotte 5, Delaware 2 

The Niners started off a little shaky after allowing two quick runs in the first inning to a strong Delaware squad that was looking to spoil Charlotte’s home opener. However, Tommy Bullock was walked in the bottom of the first allowing Carson Johnson to advance home for the first run of the game. Patrick Wheeler singled up the middle setting Drew Ober up to score evening the game at two a piece. 

After the first inning, starting pitcher and returning Junior Matt Brooks settled down along with the Niner defense shutting out the high-flying Delaware offense. Brooks ended up pitching 6.2 innings before Colby Bruce took over for the final 2.1. The two pitchers finished the game allowing just eight hits while throwing eight strikeouts in total. 

Charlotte was able to find a little breathing room in the bottom of the third when Bullock was able to score on a passed ball giving the Niners a 3-2 lead. The score remained this way for much of the game until late in the seventh when Josh Haney singled to center field allowing Wheeler and Rafi Vazquez to score making the game 5-2. 

Bruce came on late in the seventh for the save and helped Charlotte win their fourth straight opening day game. 

Game 2: Charlotte 3, Delaware 1

Head Coach Loren Hibbs notched his 800th career win as a head coach after Charlotte’s 3-1 victory over Delaware on Friday evening.

“It was good to play and get another game under our belts.” said Hibbs. 

Charlotte came swinging in the second game of their double header on Friday having not yet had enough of the Delaware pitching squad. The Niners quickly built a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Bullock was able to score off a stolen base due to an error in the Delaware outfield. This was immediately followed by a Cammarata fly out to left field which allowed Tate Pennington to score. 

Delaware tried to come back in the top of the fourth when Joseph Carpenter singled to the left allowing his teammate to score and bring the game within one score. This was for naught, though, as Charlotte’s defense cracked down for the remainder of the game behind a strong pitching rotation. 

Vazquez made headlines as well after hitting his first home run of the season in the top of the sixth inning, giving Charlotte a 3-1 lead. Vasquez leads a strong Charlotte lineup of hitters who know they can score with anyone. 

Game two for Charlotte was a little different for the inner bullpen, however, as they saw four pitchers take the mound as opposed to two in game one. This did not seem to hurt Charlotte, though, as the four pitchers in rotation notched a seven-hit outing while containing the high-flying Delaware offense to just one solo run that came in the top of the fourth inning. Bryce McGowan was credited with his first win of the year after pitching a hitless two innings while Chase Gooding recorded his first save of the season. 

Game 3: Charlotte 5, Delaware 4

The last game of the series came under question after a series of rain and poor weather plagued the Charlotte area following game two of the series. Due to increased rain and field conditions, the game was moved from a 1 p.m. start time to a 3 p.m. start time. Coach Hibbs credited the facility and the maintenance crew for working on the field throughout Saturday morning to get the field ready to go.

“We have a great staff and an amazing facility that has allowed us the opportunity to play even when the weather is against us.” said Hibbs.

And boy what a game it was.

Vazquez continued his hitting streak into Saturday’s game, singling to the right side for an RBI from Johnson in the first inning. Charlotte again saw four pitchers in rotation led by Carson Pinkney and Gooding. 

The game started as a defensive battle after the first inning scored by Johnson. Each team went back and forth for three scoreless innings, making a few incredible defensive plays. It wasn’t until the fifth inning when Delaware’s bats woke up. They were able to get a few quick hits which led to a double for Mohollen that allowed Delaware to take their first lead since game one of the series.

“We were challenged, and when you are challenged like that, whether it is baseball, basketball, football, you have a decision to make. Whether you are gonna freak out and go south or keep grinding and keep playing, but we actually practiced those late game situations in fall and early spring and we were prepared when it happened.” said Hibbs.

And fight back they did. After a Miller home run for Delaware in the sixth, Charlotte scored four runs over the next two innings led by individual singles from Bullock and Ober that each notched an RBI followed by a huge two-run home run from Harris Yett that broke a 3-3 tie and pushed the lead to two. This would prove to be enough for Charlotte as Chase Goodwin came in for the save, flying out the last batter and giving Charlotte the series sweep to open the season.

“It’s nice to get a series sweep anytime regardless of when it happens, but to start the season off this way is especially sweet.” said Hibbs.

After being predicted to finish sixth in the conference, Charlotte is already beginning to prove doubters wrong as they start the season undefeated and will look to continue that hot streak into the Monday, Feb. 18 match up against the 2-1 Clemson Tigers at 4 p.m.

2019 Baseball preview

Baseball season is finally upon us. The 49ers baseball team kicked off the 2019 season with their first practice this past Friday afternoon. With opening day only three weeks away, the team is preparing to welcome Delaware to Hayes Stadium on Feb. 15 for a three-game home stand before traveling to Clemson for their first of two meetings of the year. 

“Here we go!” head coach Loren Hibbs said. “We like our guys, we like the ability of what we can do. We have more depth than what we’ve had in the last couple of years… now we have to develop them. We’re excited to play.” 

This year’s roster features a plethora of returning players from the 2018 season while also welcoming a few newcomers to the squad: 

Roster 

1- Jake Whitcomb, OF/INF, So.

2- Carson Johsnon, INF, Jr.

3- Eric Lansinger, OF, So.

6- Josh Haney, INF, Fr.

8- Harris Yett, C/INF, R-Sr.

9- Tommy Bullock, INF, Sr.  

10- Tate Pennington, INF, So.  

11- Patrick Wheeler, Of, Jr.

12- Riley Cheek, INF/OF, Fr.

13- Mason Herbert, RHP, Fr.

16- Jesse Gonzales, INF, Sr. 

17- Todd Elwood, OF, Jr.

18- Drew Ober, OF, Fr.

19- Bryce McGowan, RHP, Fr.

20- Carter Foster, C, Fr. 

21- Colby Bruce, RHP, Jr. 

24- Dominick Cammarata, INF/OF, R-Sr. 

25- Patrick Szczypinski, RHP, So. 

26-Joey Cooner, LHP, Sr.

28- Justin Offschanka, RHP, Fr.

29- Alec Roberts, OF, Fr.

32- Carson Pinkney, RHP, R-Sr. 

33- Ethan Earhart, LHP, Jr. 

34- Ryan Czanstkowski, RHP, Jr.

35- Will Palinkas, RHP, Fr.

36- Rafi Vazquez, INF, Jr.

39- Spencer Ard, LHP, Jr.

40- Chase Gooding, RHP, Sr.

41- Matt Brooks, RHP, Jr.

42- Eli Ellington, LHP, R-Fr.

44- Jacob Whitley, C, R-So.

45- Austin Lynch, OF, Jr. 

Coming off a season in which the Niners posted a staggering 22-9 home record and finished third in the conference with a 34-24 record, the Niners look again to prove the doubters wrong after being predicted to finish sixth in the conference for the third consecutive year.

“I think we’ve proven that we don’t deserve to be put in sixth, so we’d definitely like to prove some people wrong with that,” said junior pitcher Matt Brooks. “It’s where we finish in the end is all that matters, though.”

In the last two seasons, the Niners have come just one game shy of the C-USA championship game. This season, they hope to have a different outcome. Charlotte will look towards some of their returning players such as Brooks, Harris Yett, Joey Connor, Tommy Bullock and Dominick Cammarata to help guide newcomers Rafi Vasquez, Patrick Wheeler and Carson Johnson to the team’s ultimate goal of a conference championship. 

“It’s really exciting that it’s finally here. We’ve been here all year working, so we are ready to get out there to see what we can do,” said Yett, the team’s top returning hitter from a year ago.

Entering his senior season after sporting a .323 batting average last season with six home runs and 37 RBIs, Yett looks to post another solid season with a nice supporting cast around him. Fellow seniors, Cammarata and Bullock, plan to continue their success from a year ago into their final season while mentoring a whopping 17 newcomers throughout the season. 

Charlotte will also get another chance to play under the lights this season as they play two games in the beautiful BB&T Ballpark located in uptown Charlotte. Their first is a rematch against NC State, who the Niners lost to 6-9 a year ago.

The second game is against Clemson, a team they have not played since 2010 when the Niners won an exciting 11-10 game at Hayes Stadium. The Niners went 1-1 last season at BB&T Ballpark, beating Wake Forest 13-1 and losing to UNC 2-14. Charlotte also had a third game scheduled last year against Arkansas that was cancelled due to inclement weather. These games give players a great opportunity to get a feel for a professional environment while taking in the expansive scenery uptown has to offer. 

With the season just three weeks away, Charlotte intends to hone their skills and prepare for a torrid 56 game schedule while attempting to claim their first conference championship since 2011.

Last year, the Niners got off to a 7-0 start at home. This Feb. 15, they will look for that same success to carry over into this season when they face Delaware at 3 p.m. in Hayes Stadium.

Charlotte fails to come back against LA Tech in a tough road loss

The Niners (10-8) continued their road woes on Saturday after losing to Louisiana Tech (10-9) 88-51. They’ve now lost six away games straight with their last road victory against Lehigh on Nov. 25 of last year and are now 1-7 on the road for the season. 

Charlotte started the game off quickly after taking a 17-5 lead early in the first quarter, capped off by two three-pointers from sophomore Mariah Linney. The Niners continued to shoot well until about midway through the second quarter when LA Tech’s defense took over and held Charlotte to 29 percent shooting going 12-41 from the floor. Charlotte also failed to reach the free throw line throughout the game as they finished 5-7. LA Tech managed to get to the line 16 more times, shooting 17-23 for the game.

Turnovers also played a huge role in the Niners’ downfall. Charlotte had five in the first quarter and 23 for the game, which led to 30 points off turnovers from LA Tech and helped them to stretch their lead to double digits early in the third quarter. 

Charlotte also had difficulty on the glass throughout the game, being out-rebounded 50-32, and specifically on the offensive end where Charlotte saw LA Tech grab 21 offensive boards leading to 28 second chance points. 

It wasn’t all rough for the 49ers though as Linney finished the game with 11 points. Jade Phillips led the team with four assists while also totaling five points and seven rebounds. Octavia Jett-Wilson and Jazmin Harris each added 6 points off a combined 6-11 shooting while Laia Raventós and Jada McMillian each scored 5 points for the game. 

Freshman guard Rinnah Green, who finished with two points, spoke about how the team could get better from this point forward. “We need to play with more heart and win it for ourselves. We got disappointed after continuous mistakes and it got out of hand quickly.” said Green. 

Charlotte will look to end its current two game skid and continue their five game home winning streak when they travel back to Halton Arena for a two-game homestead starting against UTSA this Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.