Charlotte redshirt freshman designated hitter Brett Lang (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell HS) finished a career-best 4-for-4, tying a career-high three RBI as 49ers head coach Loren Hibbs got his 650th career victory in front of the largest crowd of the season on Fireworks Night in an 8-4 win over UNC Asheville Friday night at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The 49ers improve the season record to 18-11 with the win in front of 1,402 fans. Asheville slipped to 9-22. The two teams were on conference bye weekends but met up for a non-conference series for the weekend.
The Bulldogs scored three runs in the opening frame on three straight hits sandwiched between a pair of Niners errors.
Asheville gave unearned runs back in the bottom half when Charlotte scored twice due to a pair of throwing errors and a pair of walks in the frame. Both runs came home on a wild pitch and a throwing error.
The 49ers took their first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Senior third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) took the team lead with his 26th RBI of the season with a single in the frame. He scored two batters later as Lang tied him with his 26th RBI and the 4-3 lead.
The Niners added to the lead as redshirt senior outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) drove in redshirt senior shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) with two outs after Roland drew a leadoff walk and got to second on a sacrifice bunt to push the lead out to 5-3.
Charlotte scored its last runs of the game in the seventh, after the first three runners reaching on a pair of walks and an infield single before sophomore second baseman Brad Elwood drew a walk to force in a run and Lang drove in two more on a single for his career-best four-hit day. Charlotte led 8-3 after that inning.
The Bulldogs got a run in the ninth on a double and an RBI groundout for the game’s final scoring play.
Charlotte starter Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) got his third win of the season (3-1) after tossing 6.2 innings, striking out seven batters. One of the three runs against was earned as he scattered six hits and two walks.
Asheville starter Lucas Clarke took the loss (1-2) after pitching five innings. Two of his four runs were earned on five hits and five walks. He struck out two.
Lang took over the conference lead as he has amassed 28 RBI this season. His four hits and three RBI led all players in the contest. Tonight was his team-leading eighth multiple-RBI game of the season and it was the sixth four-hit game of the season for a 49ers batter.
The 49ers and Bulldogs will continue the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.
NOTES: Hibbs’ overall record at Charlotte is 650-497-3 for a .566 win percentage… Charlotte has outscored opponents 25-16 in the seventh inning this season… Lang’s hit with the bases loaded was his third of the season and Charlotte’s 13th this year, with the Niners driving in 36 runs in those situations… The 49ers had 11 bases-loaded hits in 2012… Lang tied Basen and Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) with eight RBI with the sacks full this season… Elwood’s walk was his second bases-loaded RBI of the year.