|Niners Capture 2011 Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship|
Senior second baseman Corey Shaylor (Charlotte, N.C. / Independence HS) had a game-high three hits and scored a game-high three runs to earn Most Outstanding Player as No. 28 Charlotte took the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship 9-4 over Richmond Saturday afternoon at Campbell's Field. Shaylor paced the 49ers with seven hits and a .636 batting average as the 49ers went 3-0 for the week to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals next weekend.
The 49ers, the regular-season champion and top seed for the week, improve to 42-14 overall, ending the fifth-seeded Spiders season at 29-27-2.
Richmond scored a run in the first, ending Charlotte's 28-inning shutout streak against the Spiders over their last three meetings. That 1-0 lead lasted to the third, when the 49ers scored three runs to take the lead for good.
Shaylor hit a leadoff single, the first hit of nine total hits for Charlotte, in the top of the third inning. His hit was followed by a single from junior catcher Miguel Rodriguez (Cape Coral, Fla.) before a sacrifice bunt from shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) moved the runners up to second and third with one out. Outfielder Shane Brown (Davidson, N.C. / North Mecklenburg HS) then pushed a single up the middle to score both runners and give Charlotte the lead. Another single through the middle from outfielder Cory Tilton (Cary, N.C. / Green Hope HS) scored Brown for a 3-1 lead.
The Niners put up four more runs in the fourth, leading the bases before an out was recorded for Shaylor, who singled in the first run, with two more scoring on a fielding error. Rodriguez later secured the fourth run on a sacrifice fly to plate Shaylor.
Shaylor doubled to lead off the sixth and Rodriguez singled a second time to bring in him for an 8-1 lead.
The Spiders were able to push across three runs in the bottom of the sixth on four hits, including the second double of the game from outfielder Mike Mergenthaler.
Brown walked to lead off the ninth, scoring the final run of the game on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS).
The win went to redshirt junior Joe Yermal (Bel, Air, Md. / McDonogh HS), who allowed all four runs in six innings on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five and improved to 6-2. It was his 24th career victory, tying Brannon Player for fourth-most in program history.
Richmond Andrew Brockett took the loss (3-5) for the Spiders. In 3.1 innings, he gave up seven runs on seven hits, with three walks.
Charlotte will wait for seeding to the NCAA Tournament, which will be announced on Monday.
In addition to Shaylor, Roland made the All-Tournament team with four of Charlotte's nine sacrifice hits, including two RBI squeeze bunts. Also on the All-Tournament squad was Thursday's starting pitcher Andrew Smith and junior Ross Steedley, who hit .571 and tied for the team lead with three RBI in two previous games. The 49ers outscored two opponents 20-6 in the three tournament games, defeating Richmond twice for the week.
NOTES: Charlotte outscored Richmond 22-7 over their five meetings this season... Charlotte's earned run average moved to 2.43, the fourth-lowest in the country... Roland's 22 sacrifice hits are a school-record total, and caught the national leaders coming into Saturday... Charlotte has swept through the A-10 Tournament three times, previously finishing 3-0 in 2007 and 2008... The trip to the NCAA Tournament will be Charlotte's fifth, with the Niners winning their first two games in the postseason in 2007, advancing to the regional final at Columbia, S.C. against South Carolina.