Charlotte baseball puts a nine-game home winning streak on the line this weekend and the current 13-game home stand continues in a weekend series against 2012 College World Series participant Kent State. The series begins Friday at 4 p.m. at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The 49ers and Golden Flashes will play Saturday's game at 3 p.m. and Sunday's finale at 1 p.m. The two teams split a two-game series in Charlotte back in 1999 in the other meeting between the programs.
Friday is free youth day. All kids aged 17 and under will be admitted free to the series opener. Reading with Norm participants will be admitted free on Saturday, as will folks attending who show a ticket to Saturday night's men's home basketball game against Saint Joseph's.
Charlotte has won all eight home games this season and the last one of 2012 to collect the win streak. The 49ers sit at 9-2, winners of their last five games overall, including the 5-4 decision over Wake Forest on Tuesday afternoon. The home win streak is the most since a 17-game home winning streak in the 2010 season. Charlotte has outscored opponents 64-31 during the home win streak, including the season finale in 2012.
The Golden Flashes were among the final six teams in last year's College World Series, eliminating one-seed Florida in one of the first two elimination game in Omaha. Kent State won the Gary, Ind. Regional, hosted by Purdue, by beating two-seed Kentucky twice and knocking out the top-seeded Boilermakers before getting in a Super Regional at Oregon. The Golden Flashes won two out of three at Eugene, Oregon to advance to Omaha for the first time in school history. Kent State is 2-9, having lost three one-run games so far this season, but is coming off a 3-2 win at No. 4 Louisville on Sunday. They have three regular position players batting over .300 so far, and have a staff earned run average of 7.87 in 2013. Kent State has allowed 10 or more runs in six times in 11 games, scoring a double-digit run total just once.
The 49ers are led offensively by junior left fielder Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS). Seager was fourth in the NCAA in doubles per game at the first posting of national baseball statistics through last weekend's contests. He leads the A-10 with eight doubles through the first three weekends, aiding Charlotte with his team-best .419 average. Seager leads the team with 15 runs scored and 14 RBI. He also hit the first home run of the season on Sunday, the team's first grand slam since 2010, as he drove in a career-high five RBI in the 10-4 win over Youngstown State in game one of a doubleheader. The hit was one of seven for Charlotte with the bases loaded so far this season, Seager's second in three bases-loaded at bats. The 49ers had only 11 hits with the bases loaded last season.
Charlotte senior third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) has also collected some noteworthy accomplishments so far this season. Dating back to last year, he has a hit in 20 consecutive games, the longest streak for a 49er since Rob Lyerly ended the 2009 season with hits in his final 25 contests. Lyerly is currently in the New York Yankees farm system as Spring Training. Basen's .396 batting average is keyed by his team-best 19 hits. He also leads the team with a pair of triple, putting him in the top-five all-time at Charlotte with 11 career triples. Basen adds to Charlotte's .438 average with the bases loaded (7-for-16) with a 3-for-3 ledger in that category.
Charlotte righty Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) will face off against Kent State right hander Tyler Skulina on Friday. Senior left hander John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio) is scheduled to start on Saturday against righty Taylor Williams. Charlotte has yet to declare a Sunday starter, while Kent State will pitch senior right hander Casey Wilson.
There will be video, on a subscription basis, as Charlotte49ers.tv Friday and Sunday. Saturday's game will have free audio at Stretch.
Saturday's game time was moved to accommodate fans who wanted to attend both baseball and the 7 p.m. men's basketball game for Senior Night. Sunday's game time was moved to 1 p.m.