CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Riding a season-high three-game win streak backed by three-straight complete games from Brock Hudgens, Corey Roberts and Ryan Butler, the Charlotte 49ers will now take part in a home-and-home series with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons beginning Tuesday night in Winston-Salem.
Charlotte (11-24-1) is coming off of a two-game Conference USA sweep of Tulane on Thursday and Friday. Saturday’s series-finale was cancelled due to rain. The Niners picked up a 2-0 victory on Thursday night as Corey Roberts went the distance blanking the Green Wave on just three hits with seven strikeouts. Corey Roberts would throw a career-high 129 pitches in the complete game finding the strike zone 76 times. After struggling early, Corey Roberts settled down to register his fourth career complete game and first since 2011.
Offensively, the Niners got on the board in the seventh as Des Roberts started with a leadoff double to right. Corbin Shive dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push Roberts to third allowing Jordan Hudson to bring him in on a sacrifice fly to left-center. A half-inning later on a defensive change that pushed Hudson to left field, the redshirt senior came up with the play of the season to extinguish a Tulane threat.
Tulane’s Andrew Garner would line a base hit to left-center and try to stretch the single into a double. Hudson quickly tracked the ball down in the gap and fired a perfect strike to second as T.J. Nichting applied the tag to Garner for the second out of the inning.
In Friday’s action, it was Butler who spun his second complete game in three starts leading Charlotte to a 2-1 victory assuring them of a Conference USA series win. Butler tossed all nine frames surrendering his lone run and half of his four hits in the first before mowing through the Green Wave the rest of the way. Butler needed just 108 pitches, seven fewer than his complete game against Evansville just two weeks prior, tossing 70 strikes. Tulane would record just two more hits over the final eight innings in the loss.
Trailing 1-0 through three, the Niners would take advantage of a Tulane fielding error to post their two runs holding on for the one-run win. Lang would reach on the error and come around on the very next pitch as Des Roberts doubled to the wall in left-center. Nichting would provide his second crucial sacrifice fly moments later that allowed Des Roberts to score from third after getting there on his previous double.
Wake Forest (25-17) will wrap up their current five-game homestand on Tuesday entering the midweek series after dropping two-of-three to #5 Florida State at home. The Seminoles took the opener 7-1 before recording a 4-3 victory in 13 innings on Saturday. The Demon Deacons bounced back for a 5-2 win on Sunday to salvage the series-finale scoring all five runs unanswered after FSU scored their two in the second.
Grant Shambley leads Wake Forest hitting .342 on the year followed by Evan Stephens (.327) and Matt Conway (.307). Wake is hitting .251 as a team with a staff earned run average of 3.55. Lang leads Charlotte with his .295 average on the year as the Niners are at an even .240 for the season. Thanks to the three-straight wire-to-wire finishes by the starters limiting opponents to just three runs over that span, the Niners team ERA has dropped to 3.81 entering Tuesday.
Due to Saturday’s cancellation, Charlotte will start Hudgens (1-4, 3.59) on Tuesday night for limited action before the C-USA series this weekend at UTSA. RHP Brandon Vogler (1-1, 3.06) will follow Hudgens while RHP Corbin Shive (1-3, 3.46) will get the Wednesday night start. Wake Forest will counter with RHP Connor Johnstone (2-2, 3.08) and RHP John McCarren (1-0, 0.86) for the pair of games.