Charlotte baseball begins a 13-game home stand starting this weekend, in a four-game series against Youngstown State, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The 49ers enter winners of all three home games this season, with a 4-2 overall record. Youngstown State will not play a home game until March 22, and are 2-6 on the season.
The two teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday, while Sunday's series finale, originally scheduled for noon, has been pushed back to a 1 p.m. start.
The 49ers have won nearly three-fourths of games (130-49) played at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium since the stadium opened on March 30, 2007. Charlotte has a 34-7 series mark of three or more games played at the stadium. Charlotte has crossed the 30,000 fans mark at the stadium for a school-record three-straight seasons.
Junior Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) will start his third game of the season on Friday. He has posted a 1-0 mark, with a 3.09 earned run average, striking out 13 and walking six. He will be opposed by junior Patrick O'Brien in the opening game of the series. O'Brien is 1-1, with a 3.75 ERA, striking out seven and walking two. The probable starters for the remainder of the series are as follows...
Sat. (G1): Sr. LH John Hamilton (0-1,
1.35, 5 K, 1 BB) vs. Sr. LH Blake Aquandro (1-1, 7.88, 3 K, 3 BB)
Sat. (G2): TBA vs. Sr. RH Robert Switka (0-1, 3.24, 3 K, 5 BB)
Sun: Jr. RH Brock Hudgens (1-0, 5.06, 6 K, 2 BB) vs. So. RH Ryan Kronos (0-1, 8.44, 1 K, 4 BB)
Charlotte has scored at least seven runs in their four wins, scoring at least three runs in an inning in those four wins. The 49ers are already ahead of last season's pace of hits with the bases loaded. With just 11 hits with the sacks full last year, Charlotte is 4-for-7 in the early going of 2013 in those situations.
The 49ers hit a season-high seven doubles in Wednesday's 8-4 loss at Wake Forest. It was the first time Charlotte had that many doubles since a neutral-site game versus Radford in March of 2007, played at Pfeiffer University while the home stadium was still under construction.
Charlotte hitters have a pair of significant streaks active heading into the weekend. Redshirt senior Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) has reached base safely in his last 35 games, dating back to last season, while fellow infielder and senior Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) has a career-long 15-game hitting streak active that also continues from the end of 2012.
Basen this week was named to the list of 30 candidates to the Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
Basen has started all but one of Charlotte's last 121 contests and after three seasons as Charlotte's third baseman, Basen has made four starts at shortstop this season. He leads the team in hits and RBI, batting over .400 through the team's first six games. He has maintained a 3.97 grade point average with two majors (accounting and finance) and was the third baseball student-athlete at Charlotte to be named a Capital One Academic All-American. He has a chance to be the second baseball student-athlete at Charlotte to win the award twice. Basen is the reigning A-10 Co-Player of the Week.
Youngstown State brings a familiar face back to campus. The first-year coaching staff includes assistant and former 49er Jason Stanford. After two years at Barton County Community College, Stanford pitched two seasons for Charlotte (1998 and 1999) and earned All-Conference USA both seasons with the Niners. He signed a free agent deal with the Cleveland Indians that summer, earning his way up through the minors and onto the major league roster on July 6, 2003. He pitched part of five seasons, last appearing with Cleveland in July of 2007. After three seasons as a television analyst in Cleveland, Stanford became the head coach of the Howland High Tigers for the two seasons until starting as the pitching coach for YSU this season.
Temperatures are expected to be in the high 40's for the majority of the weekend.