Charlotte junior Brock Hudgens (Jamestown, N.C. / Southwest Guilford HS) tossed a one-hit shutout as the 49ers completed a weekend sweep of Butler with a 5-0 victory in game two of a Saturday doubleheader at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The win give Charlotte five victories in a row, 29-19 overall, and puts the Niners a half-game out of first in the league standings at 13-5. Entering the weekend with a six-game win streak, the Bulldogs have lost three in a row and fall to 23-21, 10-8 in the A-10.
The 49ers scored first in all three games, getting two runs in the second inning after a Butler error kept the inning alive. A sacrifice bunt from redshirt sophomore catcher Patrick Raley (Franklin, Tenn.) scored the first run of the game before a single to left from redshirt senior outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) pushed across the second run in the frame.
Charlotte then plated the other three earned runs in the third after a one-out single from senior shortstop Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) was followed by a pair of walk to load the bases. Redshirt senior right fielder Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La. / Bossier Parish JC) was then hit by a pitch to force home a run and get him an RBI before freshman designated hitter Nick Daddio (Huntersville, N.C. / Hough HS) drew an RBI walk for a 4-0 lead. Sophomore third baseman Derek Gallello (Fredericksburg, Va. / Riverbend HS) then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to complete the scoring for the game.
Butler’s only hit was a double coming with one out in the second from Radley Haddad.
Hudgens allowed six walks and struck out seven to push his record to 6-0. He has allowed 16 hits in his last four combined starts, a span of 29.1 innings, allowing just four runs in that span, while striking out 27 batters. It was the longest outing of his career by inning and pitch count (125). He has won his last four starts, all in conference. He also got the win in the program’s 1,000th victory on February 25 against Marshall. For the season, his earned run average is a team-best 2.69, with 64 strikeouts in 63.2 innings.
The loss went to Bulldogs starter Kevin Lenkman (2-3). In 2.1 innings, he gave up all five Charlotte runs, through only three were earned on three hits and four walks, logging two strikeouts.
Elseser and Basen had two hits each to lead the 49ers. Five different 49ers scored a run and five different Niners drove in one run each.
The 49ers will have the week to take final exams and work in some practice before hosting Dayton for the team’s final home series of the season. The series starts Friday night at 6 p.m.
NOTES: The shutout was the first for Charlotte this season and the one-hit shutout was the first for Charlotte since limiting Richmond to one hit on May 26, 2011 in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament… The last one-hit shutout thrown by Charlotte was by Adam Mills against Radford on February 18, 2007, in a game played at Joe Ferebee Field at Pfeiffer University while the stadium on campus was being constructed… Charlotte’s last shutout came at home on March 13, 2012 against USC Upstate and the last pitcher to toss a complete-game shutout was Andrew Smith at Saint Louis on April 15, 2011… Charlotte is 9-1 in games that Hudgens starts this season… Charlotte is 7-1 in its four season doubleheaders this season… Charlotte starting pitching gave up three runs, two earned, in 24 innings pitched against Butler in the series, for an ERA of 0.75… The starters struck out 17 batters in that span.