CHARLESTON, S.C. – Getting extra life in the form of a two-out error in the third, College of Charleston capitalized with four runs, all unearned, en route to a 5-2 victory over Charlotte in baseball action Tuesday night. The Niners committed two in the third inning, three overall suffering their second-straight loss.
The Cougars used a leadoff base hit in the bottom of the first from Blake Butler to take an early 1-0 lead over the Niners. A walk to Nick Pappas would push Butler to second before a fly ball to right moved him to third. Brandon Murray’s fielder’s choice, just beating out a relay throw to first that would have been an inning-ending double play, chased home Butler with the game’s first tally.
Charlotte (2-3) squared things up at 1-1 in the visitor third as a leadoff triple by T.J. Nichting paid off after a two-out single to left by Zach Jarrett. Cougars right fielder Alex Pastorius charged in on Nichting’s hit trying to dive and make the play, but he misjudged his attempt as the ball rolled to the wall for a leadoff triple.
College of Charleston (7-1) took advantage of a home field breeze and a pair of Charlotte errors in the third to score their decisive four runs. A pop up to short misplayed by the breezy conditions blowing out to center allowed the inning to continue for Carl Wise to deliver the big blow, a two-run double to left helped staking the Cougars out to a 5-1 advantage. Charlotte starter Corbin Shive would suffer the loss over his four innings of work that saw the right hander allow just one earned run on four hits with a strikeout.
“We just let it get away from us there in that one inning,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs postgame. “We made several bad defensive plays and that was the game. “When you’re playing a team as good as Charleston is and they can shorten the game on you with a really good bullpen. When you make mistakes early in the game, it makes it that much harder to come back from later in the game.”
The Niners would get one of those runs back in the fifth as a one-out single by Des Roberts paid off after a Brad Elwood two-out single to center. The fifth turned out to be Charlotte’s last in touching the plate as a combination of seven runners left on base and the pitching efforts of four College of Charleston Cougars handcuffed the 49ers the rest of the way.
Hayden McCutcheon got the win in a pre-determined four innings of work allow one run on four hits with five strikeouts. The bullpen efforts of Tyler Thornton, Chase Henry and Michael Hanzlik stifled the 49ers offense the rest of the way. Henry allowed the final 49ers run on four hits tossing two frames while Henry surrendered just one hit in his two innings of work with three strikeouts. Hanzlik recorded the save with a perfect top of the ninth.
Charlotte did out-hit College of Charleston 9-8 led by Nichting's 3-for-4 night at the plate with a triple and pair of singles.
Charlotte will wrap up the Charleston road trip facing The Citadel on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m. with LHP Justin Harris (0-0, 6.75) making the start for the Niners. Live audio, stats and video will be available through http:///www.charlotte49ers.com.