|Baseball Falls in First Extra-Inning Game of Year|
A run in the bottom of the ninth by Charlotte capped the second comeback tie and forced extra innings, but Kent State's two-out, two-RBI triple scored two in the tenth to take the weekend series 7-5 Sunday at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium in non-conference baseball action. The 49ers are now 10-4 on the season, with the Golden Flashes improving to 4-10.
The Golden Flashes drew walks to the first two batters of the tenth and Campbell delivered the blow down the right field line on an 0-2 breaking ball to decide the game. The series produced two one-run games, with each team winning one game in its last at bat.
Kent State scored three runs in the first on one hit and an error after starting pitcher Micah Wells (Pfafftown, N.C. / Mt. Tabor HS) walked three in the opening frame. Two of the three runs charged to him were earned.
Charlotte pulled to within a run with two runs in the fifth inning. The Niners started the inning with back-to-back singles from redshirt sophomore catcher Patrick Raley (Franklin, Tenn.) and senior center fielder Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS). A pair of wild pitches scored the Raley and an RBI groundout by senior third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) brought in Green for the second run of the frame.
Kent State was able to extend the lead in the seventh with a walk, single and an RBI sacrifice fly by shortstop Sawyer Polen to make the score 4-2.
The 49ers tied the game in the bottom half of that frame with three hits. An RBI double from junior left fielder Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) pulled the game to within a run and junior first baseman Grant Dunnegan (Clearwater, Kan. / Hutchinson CC) drove in the tying run with a single through the right side. Seager's double was his conference-leading ninth of the season.
The Flashes retook the lead in the top of the eighth after a leadoff single from third baseman Justin Wagler turned into a run after a sacrifice bunt and a groundout moved him to third for catcher Jeff Revesz, who dropped an RBI single to left center for the go-ahead run.
After a strikeout, Charlotte drew two walks to Basen and sophomore second baseman Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) The pair executed a double steal and advanced one more base on a throwing error by the catcher to tie the game at five.
In the tenth, a leadoff walk to right fielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) was left stranded. Both teams left 11 runners on base in the thriller.
Basen led Charlotte with two hits and two runs scored. Polen's three hits were the game-high total. He and Campbell led all players with two RBI each.
The win went to reliever Brian Clark (1-1), who recorded both of his season decisions in the series. He got the third out of the ninth with a runner at third and two outs. He came in after Kent State inadvertently made a second trip to the mound to visit with reliever Eric Dorsch, forcing a mandatory pitching change. He got a groundout to first against the only batter he faced in the contest.
After setting a new career-high with 5.1 innings pitched in a middle-relief appearance last weekend, junior Ryan Mas (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS) broke that mark with 5.2 innings Sunday in relief from the first to the seventh innings. He scattered four hits and a walk, striking out three in the appearance.
Freshman reliever Nick Jensen-Clagg gave up a leadoff walk, but retired the last three in order to grab his first collegiate save.
Charlotte reliever Sean Pope (Huntersville, N.C. / North Mecklenburg HS) took the loss (0-1). He got the last out of the ninth, but walked the two runners in the tenth that later scored for the decision.
NOTES: The series was just the eighth won by an opponent in 43 home series of three-or-more games since the stadium opened in March of 2007... Elwood recorded a hit in the first inning to extend his career-long his streak to 15 games, dating back to last season... In just two relief appearances, Mas is fourth on the team in innings pitched, with 11... More than half (11 of 21) of Seager's season hits have been for extra bases... He is slugging a team-best .636 this season... Charlotte's 29 doubles lead the A-10.