Charlotte baseball kept pace with the Atlantic 10 Conference leaders by winning its sixth-straight game, an 8-4 home victory to open a weekend home series with Dayton Friday night at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The win pushed Charlotte to its 17th 30-win season in program history, at 30-19. The 49ers are also 14-5 in the A-10, a half-game behind league-leading La Salle, which swept a doubleheader at St. Bonaventure Friday for the lead. Dayton fell to 10-35-1 overall, 3-19 in league play.
Prior to the contest, Charlotte honored 2012 Team Most Valuable Player and league batting champion Shane Brown with his MVP award before he headed off to coach a high school playoff game.
The Flyers got on the board first with a run in the opening frame on two doubles, the latter with an RBI from left fielder Ryan Berry to score second baseman Ralph Alloco.
Charlotte responded with three first-inning runs on four hits. Redshirt senior J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) doubled to leadoff the inning and senior Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS) bunted for a single to put runners at the corners. A wild pitch scored Elseser from third and advanced Green to second before a groundout. Green stole third and came home on a throwing error. Sophomore Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) tripled to right center and came home on a single from Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus) for the third run of the frame.
The 49ers added a run in the third. Green doubled to lead off the frame, stole third again and scored on a sacrifice fly from Elwood to post a 4-1 lead.
Charlotte scored again in the sixth on a walk, a hit and a sacrifice bunt and RBI from catcher Patrick Raley (Franklin, Tenn.) for a 5-1 lead.
The Flyers pulled to within one after scoring three unearned runs in the top of the eighth, with RBI doubles coming from Berry and outfielder Mark Podlas for a 5-4 score.
The Niners responded with three insurance runs in the bottom half after a throwing error, an RBI double from Elseser and an RBI single from senior shortstop Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) to extend the lead back out to four runs.
Charlotte starter Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) tossed 6.2 innings, allowing the one earned run, tied for his season low, on five hits and two walks, with a pair of strikeouts. Barnette’s victory was the 17th of his career, getting him into a four-way tie for the 13th most in program history.
Dayton starter Noah Buettgen took the loss for the Flyers, dropping him to 1-9 on the season. He allowed seven runs, six of them earned, on 12 hits and two walks.
Charlotte reliever Jordan Hudson (Lexington, N.C. / West Davidson HS) got his second save of the season after entering in the eighth with the tying run on base, finishing out the game by retiring four of the five batters he faced.
Charlotte’s Green and Seager, along with Dayton’s Berry, all had three hits to lead the game. Elseser and Green scored twice to lead all players. Berry’s pair of RBI was the game-high total. Green’s two stolen bases tied his career high and was the game-high total.
Charlotte will hold Senior Day prior to Saturday’s 2 p.m. first pitch. Fans are encouraged to come early due to traffic flow and parking issues as Graduation ceremonies will be held all over campus throughout the day. Baseball fans are encouraged to use the Highway 29 entrance of campus to avoid most of the travel issues associated with Saturday’s campus activities.
NOTES: Six wins ties the season-high for consecutive wins for Charlotte… The 49ers outhit the Flyers 14-9, pushing the season record to 26-4, 13-1 in A-10 contests, when outhitting the opposing team… Charlotte is 13-2 when scoring in the first inning, 7-0 in conference games this season… The 49ers are 12-0 in league games when scoring four or more runs… Barnette wins his second-straight start and second A-10 game of the season… Barnette tied John Maine for seventh at Charlotte by starting his 41st game, and passed Sean Whiteside for 14th in school history for career innings pitched, at 222.1 in three seasons.