Charlotte (0-0) at High Point (0-3)
Tuesday, Feb. 18; 4 p.m.
After snow forced the cancellation of the 49ers opening weekend series, Charlotte finally gets a chance to open its season, Tuesday at High Point (0-3) at 4 pm. The Panthers are 0-3 on the young season after dropping a three-game series at Mercer over the weekend. Charlotte will throw first-team all-Atlantic 10 choice Brock Hudgens in their season-opener. The senior righty went 7-1 last year and held opponents to a .223 average, third lowest in school history. The 49ers, who begin play in Conference USA, this year, went 37-23 last year. The offense is highlighted by the return of junior Brad Elwood, who was second on the team with a .343 average last year while banging out a team-high 80 hits. Brett Lang hit .289 and shared the team-lead with four homers. Head coach Loren Hibbs, the program’s all-time winningest coach, begins his 22nd season at the helm.
Charlotte was the winningest Atlantic 10 Conference program in its eight-year stint in the league (2006-13). The 49ers won back-to-back regular-season titles twice in the A-10 (2010-11 & 2007-08), giving Charlotte a trio of consecutive titles in program history (Metro Champions 1994-95). The back-to-back league tournament titles in 2007 & 2008 were a first in program history. Charlotte captured the regular-season league title five times in eight years of A-10 membership. Charlotte also won Metro Conference Regular Season titles in 1994 and 1995, capturing a tournament title in 1993.
Coaching & Program Milestones
April 3, 2013 against Asheville, Charlotte head coach Loren Hibbs earned his 650th career win. The 49ers skipper is in his 21st season in charge of the program, with an average of over 30 wins per season. He is the only head coach at Charlotte to take the program to the NCAA tournament, which he has done five times. He is a major part of the program reaching the 1,000-win mark, which it did on February 25, 2013 at home against Marshall. Hibbs credited the program’s 334 letterwinners in 35 seasons for the program’s success.
Start Me up
Charlotte scored first in 33 games last season, winning 28 of those contests. Since 2006, the 49ers are 206-58-1 when scoring first and 146-37-1 when scoring in the first inning, including an 18-2 mark last year. The Niners have also outscored opponents 399-296 in the first inning in that time.
Off on the Right Foot
Charlotte is 22-13 in season-opening games, with 19 of those coming at home (14-5). Charlotte has won the last 10 home-opening games and four in a row when starting the season at home. The 49ers, who open at home, Friday vs. Canisius, are 11-5 in home openers after starting the season on the road. In the six full seasons that Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium has existed, the 49ers are 4-0 when opening the season at home and 2-0 in the home opener after starting on the road.