After missing 36 games due to injury, pinch runner Shane Brown (Davidson, N.C. / North Mecklenburg HS) returned to score the game-winning run on a bases-loaded walkoff wild pitch in the bottom of the tenth for the lone run of the day in a 1-0 shutout victory for No. 25 Charlotte over visiting Richmond Saturday. The result levels the Atlantic 10 Conference weekend series to one game each, with a shutout to the credit of each pitching staff. Charlotte improves to 35-11 on the season, tied for first in the Atlantic 10 with a 14-6 mark. Richmond slips to 23-20-2, 10-7 in league play.
The victory was the first 1-0 outcome for Charlotte since a win over Campbell on February 23, 2007 in Kannapolis at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium while the current facility was being erected. Charlotte is 9-1 this season in one-run games, and 2-1 in extra-innings.
Charlotte has won all six of its extra-inning A-10 games at home, and its last seven in the league overall. Charlotte is 8-1 all-time in the A-10 in extra innings, the only loss coming at Dayton on May 5, 2006.
The shutout win was the ninth for Charlotte this season, tied for the fourth-most in the country. The Charlotte team ERA dropped to 2.24 through 46 games, fourth-lowest in the nation. The run for the Niners ended a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless offensive innings and a run of 22-straight shutout innings by the Spiders pitching staff.
Neither starter factored in the win, despite logging multiple scoreless frames in the contest. Charlotte's Joe Yermal (Bel Air, Md. / McDonogh HS) lasted eight innings, scattering five hits and two walks. He struck out five and did not allow a baserunner to safely touch third in the game. Only two Spiders reached second against him. His season earned run average dropped to 1.51 after the contest.
Richmond starter Anthony Cafagna tossed nine shutout innings, allowing just three hits and one walk, with four strikeouts. Only one runner got to third in the first nine innings, outfielder Cory Tilton (Cary, N.C. / Green Hope HS), after a steal and a throwing error in the second. The stolen base was his league-leading 29th of the season.
Charlotte did not log a hit in the winning frame. Richmond reliever Andrew Brockett recorded a strikeout before allowing first baseman Kevin Gillespie (Bedford, Ind.) to draw a walk. Brown entered to run for him and advanced to second on a groundout by catcher Miguel Rodriguez (Cape Coral, Fla.). Brockett then walked the next two batters before first baseman Billy Barber moved to the mound to pitch. The side-arm hurler uncorked the wild pitch on his third pitch of the day, allowing Brown to score the game-winner.
The win went to Charlotte's John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio), who tossed two scoreless innings of relief and improved his season record to 2-2. He gave up one walk and struck out a pair and evened his record to 1-1 in extra-inning games this season.
Brockett took the loss in relief (1-4).
Richmond's Matt Zink was the lone player in the contest with a multi-hit game, recording two singles.
The series-clinching game will be Sunday at noon. Charlotte has won 11 straight home conference series, the eighth-longest active streak in the country.
NOTES: The two teams combined for eight hits (Richmond had five of them), matching Friday night's total (each team had four)... The win was Charlotte's fifth when being outhit by the opponent (11 games)... Tilton was sixth in the NCAA last Monday in stolen bases... His 71 career swipes are fourth all-time in program history... Eight players on the two teams combined are hitless in six or more at bats in the series as the pitching staffs have combined for a 0.96 ERA in the series... Charlotte is 2-0 when tied after eight innings this season... The Niners have a 7-5 scoring advantage in three extra-inning games this season... Senior Day festivities took place before the game, with the dads of the senior players throwing out the first pitches to their sons... 1,337 fans attended, giving Charlotte its tenth sellout of 2011... Charlotte is averaging a school-record 1,044 fans per home game this season, with two home contests remaining on the schedule.