Junior first baseman Grant Dunnegan (Clearwater, Kan. / Hutchinson CC) hit his first home run of 2013 to force a fifth-inning tie, but what would have been the tying run in the ninth was disallowed during an appeal and Charlotte fell 4-3 at Richmond to even the Atlantic 10 Conference series at Pitt Field. The two teams sport identical overall and league records, at 15-7, 1-1.
With runners at second and third and one out in the ninth, senior third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) hit a ball that looked to be dropping into right center field, but an outstanding sliding catch was made by right fielder Tanner Stanley for the second out. The runner at third was tagging up to score and came across home before the Spiders were able to relay back to second for an appealed third out, but the umpiring crew left the field, ending the game, despite protestations from the visitors. Replays on the home video feed showed the run come across before the appeal play was made, but college baseball officials do not get the benefit of viewing replays, disallowing the tying run in the contest.
Both teams had the lead at different parts of the game. The Spiders scored twice in the fourth on a two-RBI double from catcher Aaron Newman to take the lead before Dunnegan’s homer in the fifth to tie the game at two.
Charlotte had its first lead of the game with an unearned run in the sixth after an error scored Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La. / Bossier Parish JC) from second.
The Spiders tied the score on a leadoff solo homer to left from first baseman Jacob Mayers.
In the seventh, Richmond scored the last run of the game on after an error and a fielder’s choice before center fielder Matt Zink had his first hit of the series for an RBI.
Montalbano doubled in the eighth with one out, but could not score and the Niners got the first two runners on with one out in the ninth before the game-ending result.
Charlotte reliever Ryan Mas (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS) took the loss, despite the one run charged to him going unearned. He pitched two-third of an inning, allowing one hit.
Richmond starter Andrew Blum lasted seven innings, allowing eight hits and two walks. Two of the three runs charged to him were earned. He struck out four.
Richmond reliever James Lively pitched two scoreless innings for his second save of the season. He gave up two hits and struck out a batter in his outing.
Charlotte starter John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio) took a no decision for the second week in a row and third time in six starts this season. The senior lasted six innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits and no walks. He struck out a career-high six.
Charlotte outhit the Spiders 10-7 in the game, with the 49ers leaving eight on base in the game. Montalbano and shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) had two hits each for Charlotte. Richmond’s seven hits were by seven different batters. The two RBI from Dunnegan and Newman were tied for the game-high total.
Sunday's series finale has been moved up to 11 a.m. due to the forecast in the Richmond area.
NOTES: Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) collected a single to extend his season-long hit streak to a season-long nine games in a row… Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) was kept off base in the game, ending his career-long streak of reaching base safely to 21 games… Roland has reached base safely in 13 in a row… The three-hit game for Basen was his third this season and the two-RBI game was Dunnegan’s fourth this year… For reference, the rule about appeals is found in the MLB rulebook... Rule 2.00 under the comments section on force plays in the example section describes a play similar to the game-ending result on Saturday.