Despite late runs in the sixth and eighth innings, Charlotte could not overcome a strong pitching performance from VCU starter Heath Dwyer as the 49ers lost their home conference opener 5-2 to the Rams at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium Friday night. Charlotte and VCU again played as conference foes, meeting in their third different league in the all-time series. The win was the first for the Rams as members of the A-10 as they improve to 13-10 overall, 1-3 in league play. Charlotte slips to 16-9, 2-2 in the A-10.
Dwyer tossed eight innings, allowing one earned run, scattering five hits and a walk, recording six strikeouts on 105 pitches.
The Rams got on the board in the first with a hit, a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and an RBI groundout for the 1-0 lead.
VCU added two more in the fourth after a hit batter and a single were driven in with two outs with a two-RBI double off the left center field fence by first baseman Brent Mikionis for a 3-0 Rams lead.
The Rams added two more runs, both unearned, in the sixth inning after Charlotte’s only error of the game.
The 49ers got on the board with an unearned run in the sixth. Third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) reached via an error and stole second. He advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Basen drove in a run in the eighth for Charlotte after a senior center fielder Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS) doubled and advanced to third.
The loss went to Charlotte starter Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.), who pitched seven innings. He allowed just seven hits and did not walk a batter, adding six strikeouts. Three of the five runs charged to him were earned.
VCU closer Matt Lees pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save of the season, allowing a hit and garnering a pair of strikeouts.
Charlotte’s J.J. Elseser tied with two VCU hitters with the game-high of two hits.
Due to forecasted rain for the Charlotte area on Easter Sunday, the series will finish with a Saturday doubleheader, beginning at 2 p.m.