The Charlotte 49ers scored two runs in the first inning Saturday and never trailed to win its first league game of the season, 6-3 at Rhode Island in Atlantic 10 Conference baseball action at Bill Beck Field. The 49ers even the opening-weekend series at one game each, and improve overall to 12-11. Rhode Island drops to 8-12 on the year.
The 49ers got strong starting pitching from redshirt senior Joe Yermal (Bel Air, Md/ / McDonogh HS), who tossed six innings to record his team-leading fourth win of the season. He gave up eight hits and a walk and was charged with two runs in the outing on 97 pitches. He now has 28 career victories, second-most among active players in Division I and one away from a tie for the second-most in program history at Charlotte.
The 49ers scored both runs in the first with two outs, thanks to a pair of hits, a walk and a fielding error. Designated hitter Corbin Shive (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) drove in outfielder Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La.) from second with the second of the singles in the inning.
Rhode Island was able to record two hits and score a run in the bottom of the first to pull to within one run, but Charlotte surged out to a 4-1 lead with two more runs in the third stanza. The 49ers drew four walks and had a hit in that inning to get the pair. Montalbano and Shive scored the runs after walks, coming home on an RBI single from freshman second baseman Derek Gallello (Fredericksburg, Va. / Riverbend HS) and an RBI groundout from sophomore first baseman Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS).
Shive doubled to lead off the fifth for his second hit of the day, scoring on a two-out RBI single from shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) for a 5-1 edge.
The Rams answered in the sixth with a leadoff double and a sacrifice fly to pull to within three runs.
Charlotte got its sixth and final run of the day on the first home run this season from Seager on the first pitch of the frame. He has sent nine of his 13 hits for extra bases this season.
Charlotte closer John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio) pitched the final 1.1 innings of relief, striking out the final batter of the game for his fifth save of 2012.
The loss went to sophomore starter Nick Harodowy. He lasted 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and five walks.
Shive and outfielder Shane Brown (Davidson, N.C. / North Mecklenburg HS) had two hits each to lead Charlotte. Seager's pair of RBI led all players. Rhode Island catcher Milan Adams had a game-high total of three hits.
The clinching game of the series will start at noon Sunday. Senior Chad Rothlin will start for Charlotte.
NOTES: Yermal needs four more wins to tie Adam Mills for the most (32) in team history... Seager is the fifth 49er to hit a home run this season and gave Charlotte eight total, allowing seven this season... Charlotte has not lost a lead after six innings this season (12-0)... The Niners are also 12-2 when the opponent scores fewer than five runs and 9-0 when scoring six or more runs in a game this season... The Rams out hit the 49ers 10-9, giving Charlotte its first win when collecting fewer hits than the opponent (1-8).