Charlotte baseball begins an eight-game home stand by stepping out of conference with a three-game weekend series against UNC Asheville, starting Friday night at 6 p.m. at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. Friday night will be Fireworks Night, with a post-game fireworks show beginning five minutes after the final out is recorded.
Walk-up ticket sales are always heavy for the annual Fireworks night, so the 49ers Ticket Office encourages fans to avoid the lines by calling ahead to buy tickets at (704) 687-4949. Please be aware of the potential for a large crowd and plan to be early to avoid parking and traffic issues. Charlotte has posted a sellout in seven of the last 10 home contests and the forecast should be pleasant enough for large crowds this weekend.
Charlotte student-athletes will be honored throughout the Saturday game, which starts at 2 p.m. with Sunday’s finale commencing at 1 p.m.
The 49ers and Bulldogs renewed their rivalry in 2011 after a 10-year hiatus. Charlotte won a pair of games in a rain-shortened weekend to start March of that season. The 49ers have won the last five meetings, dating back to 1994, including both contested at Hayes Stadium. Charlotte is 18-3 overall in the all-time series.
The 49ers enter the weekend at 17-11, dropping their last two contests. Charlotte is 14-5 on the home field. Asheville split a weeknight home-and-home with Western Carolina, taking a 15-0 result on the home turf of McCormick Field Wednesday night. The Bulldogs enter at 9-21 overall, including a 1-12 road record.
Friday night, junior right hander Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) will start opposite Bulldog freshman left hander Lucas Clarke. Barnette is 2-1, with a 4.47 earned run average, posting a team-high 33 strikeouts against 11 walks this season. Clarke is 1-1, with a 4.68 ERA, with 23 strikeouts and 15 walks.
Saturday afternoon, senior lefty John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio) will start for the 49ers against Asheville junior right hander Dean Roland. Hamilton is 1-2, with a 2.97 ERA. In 39.1 innings of work this season in seven starts, he has struck out 26 and walked eight. Roland is 0-6, holding a 5.28 ERA, with 32 strikeouts and 12 walks.
Sunday, Asheville will start redshirt senior right hander Dillon Tabar. He is 2-2, with a 4.24 ERA, with 16 strikeouts and four walks. Charlotte has not named a Sunday starter for the series finale.
Charlotte’s team 3.21 ERA continues to lead the Atlantic 10 Conference. The 49ers are fourth in the league with a .294 team batting average. This game marks the start of the second half of the 56-game regular season.
Junior Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) continues to lead the league with his .423 batting average and .508 on-base percentage. He has scored more runs (28) and collected more hits (44) than any other player in the league. Seager and teammates Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) and Brett Lang (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell HS) are in a four-way tie for second in the conference with 25 RBI this season.
Charlotte relief pitcher Hunter May (Cornelius, N.C. / Pitt CC) leads the conference with six pitching victories, all out of the bullpen and is currently second in the conference with a 2.03 ERA and leads the league with a .179 batting average against mark. He is tied with VCU closer Matt Lees with 16 appearances this season.
Charlotte will host Winthrop next Tuesday night at 6 p.m. to continue the home stand.