Charlotte showed a balanced attack of offense and pitching, which powered the 49ers to a 12-3 home win over Xavier to advance to Championship Saturday of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium Friday afternoon. The win tied Charlotte’s school record for home wins with 29. The 49ers are 37-21 this season, dropping the Musketeers to 32-25. The 49ers are 3-1 versus Xavier this season and 3-1 against them in the A-10 Tournament.
Charlotte senior Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) collected games highs of three hits and five RBI, including his first career grand slam, and the first of his eight career homers at home in the win.
The 49ers scored their 36th first-inning run of the season after leadoff batter J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) singled through the middle and advanced to second on a walk. He later scored with a two-out RBI from Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS). It was Seager’s 40th RBI of the season.
Charlotte put up another run in the third after Elseser singled through the left side of the infield with one out. After a sacrifice moved into scoring position, senior Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) singled to put runners at the corners. Sophomore second baseman Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) singled through the right side for an RBI and a 2-0 Charlotte lead.
Basen drove in his first run of the day in the fifth and Elwood singled to left center with one out in the frame to drive in two more runs and extend Charlotte’s lead to 5-0.
The 49ers scored two more in the sixth, one on a Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS) RBI fielder’s choice and another on a wild pitch to take a 7-0 lead.
Xavier got its first hit in the fourth and its second in the fifth. Both were doubles against Charlotte junior Brock Hudgens (Jamestown, N.C. / Southwest Guilford HS), but the Musketeers could not score on him until a third double, followed by an RBI single by Patrick Paligraf, in the sixth.
Basen drilled an 0-1 pitch out to left with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth for four more runs and an 11-1 lead.
Xavier touched up Hudgens with two runs on a homer from Vinny Nittoli in the eighth to make it 11-3.
Charlotte scored its final run after a leadoff triple by Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La. / Bossier Parish JC) and a wild pitch in the top of the ninth.
Hudgens tossed eight strong innings, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks, striking out three for the win to improve to 7-1.
The loss went to Xavier starter Tyler Koors (5-6). Once the game got out of hand, the Musketeers asked him to stay in and pitch and save the bullpen for further play this weekend. He tossed 142 pitches to save those arms and gave up 15 hits and 12 runs, 10 of them earned, with four walks and four strikeouts.
Elwood is 7-for-11 (.636) for the tournament, with a tournament-leading seven RBI, with at least two in all three games that Charlotte has played.
Six 49ers had two or more of Charlotte's 15 hits and Elseser scored a career high four runs in the contest.
Charlotte plays the winner of the 7 p.m. game at the end of day three, which will be either Saint Louis, George Washington or Xavier after two more elimination games on Friday.
NOTES: Of Basen’s eight career homers, four have been against Xavier, including three in Cincinnati at Hayden Field… Charlotte is 24-0 when scoring six runs this season (11-0 in the A-10 Tournament with six or more runs) and 18-2 when scoring in the first inning… Charlotte is 3-1 in the A-10 Championship game, losing only to Saint Louis in 2010… Charlotte has scored double-digit runs in eight A-10 Tournament games, winning all of them.