|Baseball Outhits, Outslugs Hawks in 8-7 Home Loss|
First baseman Corbin Shive (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) belted two home runs and the 49ers put together 14 hits, but three Charlotte errors led to a pair of unearned runs as the difference in an 8-7 home loss to Saint Joseph's to start and Atlantic 10 Conference baseball weekend at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium Friday night. The 49ers fall to 16-21 overall, 4-9 in league games. The Hawks improve to 17-21, 7-3 in conference. The loss was the fifth straight at home for the 49ers, the longest stretch in the history of Hayes Stadium and the longest home losing skid since April of 2004.
The Hawks jumped out to a quick lead with two runs in the first, but the 49ers answered with a run in the bottom half of the opening frame. Leadoff batter Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) extended his conference-leading hit streak to 13 games with a double to start the inning, followed by an RBI single from outfielder and reigning league Rookie of the Week Leland Clemmons (Chesapeake, Va. / Portsmouth Christian HS) for the 2-1 margin.
The 49ers committed all three of their errors in the second to allow a pair of unearned runs to starter Andrew Smith (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS), who sat down nine in a row at one point in the contest.
The Hawks took the 5-1 lead to the third, when the 49ers got another one back on a sacrifice fly from designated hitter Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La.), plating Clemmons, who had hits in his first three trips and is still red hot from last week. Clemmons is 10 for his last 15, reaching base 17 times in his last 20 plate appearances.
The Hawks chased Smith from the contest with three hits to start the fifth inning, the last a two-RBI single for a 7-2 lead.
Charlotte mounted a serious comeback in the bottom of that fifth stanza, with three runs to get the game back to within two. The 49ers started the inning with singles from Clemmons and outfielder Shane Brown (Davidson, N.C. / North Mecklenburg HS), back in the lineup after missing the last three games. Brown started 4-for-4 and put together a run of seven hits in his last seven plate appearances, tying for sixth in Charlotte history with that mark before a strikeout in the ninth. Montalbano drove in another run without a hit on a groundout before Shive's first homer of the game, a 1-1 pitch out to left center for the 7-5 score.
SJU put up a run on reliever Chad Rothlin (Hickory, N.C. / Fred T. Foard HS) after two singles and a sacrifice fly for their final run of the game. Rothlin allowed just that one run in 3.1 innings on three hits, with two strikeouts.
Shive homered again on a 1-1 pitch out to left to lead off the eighth, and Clemmons hit a leadoff homer, his second of the season, out to left in the ninth, but the 49ers could not get the tying run on base thanks to a pair of called strikeouts in favor of Hawks reliever Steven Schuler, who got his third save of the season.
Shive leads the team with five homes and is the first 49er with a multi-homer game since Cory Tilton ('11) did the feat at home against Temple on May 1, 2010. Shive's three RBI are a new career high.
Smith took the loss (4-6). In 4.1 innings, he allowed seven runs, five of them earned, on nine hits and a walk, with one strikeout.
Hawks starter Kyle Mullen got the win, though he gave up 11 hits in 6.1 innings. He also was tagged for five runs with two walks and a hit batter, logging three strikeouts in 105 pitches.
Clemmons and Brown each tied the team season high with four hits in the game. Clemmons tied his career highs with three runs scored and two RBI in the contest.
Game two of the series starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.