CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte 49ers baseball team had something happen to them on Sunday that hasn’t been seen in nearly eight years, a tie. Charlotte and Creighton tied 5-5 in 10-innings on Sunday as no new inning could start after 3:50 p.m. due to Creighton’s travel plans back to Omaha. The last tie came all the way back on April 4, 2006 as the Niners played to a 12-12 draw at Appalachian State.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a tie,” stated Head Coach Loren Hibbs postgame. “We’re never happy with a tie. I need to talk to our soccer guys on what it’s like to tie, they do a great job over there.”
Creighton (4-4-1) tallied the first run of the day, unearned, in the opening frame using a pair of singles and Charlotte (2-6-1) error. Jake Peter reached on a fielder’s choice and later moved to third on Mike Gerber’s single to right, misplaced temporarily by T.J. Nichting in right. Peter would later score the run thanks to a Brett Murray infield single.
Mikal Hill and the Niners would respond in their half of the first with a three-spot to take a two-run advantage. After Hill’s single to left and wild pitch moved him to second, Brad Elwood would sacrifice Hill to third. Brett Lang followed with a two-out walk that kept the inning alive for Des Roberts. Roberts would connect on a double to left, scoring Hill, and advancing Lang to third. Logan Sherer immediately followed two pitches later with a single to right to bring home both Lang and Roberts.
The Niners would tack on two more in the second using a rare balk and RBI single by Elwood for a four-run advantage. Hill would reach on a fielder’s choice and scamper to third on the very next pitch thanks to T.J. Nichting’s double down the left-field line. Creighton starter Jeff Albrecht would then balk to score Hill from third and send Nichting to third. Elwood came up with his single to right four pitches later to stake Charlotte out to a 5-1 lead. Albrecht wouldn’t make it out of the second inning as the Niners tagged the lefty for five runs on five hits in his 1.2 innings of work.
Creighton cut the lead by a run in the top of the fourth as Murray laced a double down the left-field line to start the inning. After moving to third on a failed pickoff attempt at second, Murray would later score the unearned run on a groundout to short.
In the sixth, the Blue Jays would erase the deficit completely scoring three to knot the contest at 5-5. Murray was hit by a pitch to start while Reagan Fowler followed with a single to left. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Cody Kottich would drive in Murray for a 5-3 game. After a fly out to center by Ryan Fitzgerald, Brad McKewon and Nicky Lopez would register back-to-back singles to score Fowler and Kottich with the game-tying runs.
Creighton had the lead man in the eighth and tenth with leadoff doubles, but both Blue Jays would be stranded to end the inning. In the 10th with Joey Mancuso at third and one out, Creighton would try to score the go-ahead run as a fly ball to left off the bat of Fitzgerald saw Mancuso tag at third. Elwood’s throw in left was right on the money as Mancuso was tagged out at the plate by Lang to retire the side.
The 49ers bullpen was outstanding in relief as five hurlers combined to toss a three-hit shutout over the final 4.1 innings. Creighton’s six relievers combined on their shutout over the final 8.1 innings after Albrecht’s day was cut short. Sherer led Charlotte at the plate going 3-for-4 with two runs driven recording his second three-hit game this season. For the second-straight day, Hill picked up a pair of hits in his five plate appearances.
“I thought we had good at bats early in the game and I thought we were energized and ready to play,” continued Hibbs. “We have been put into a position where we got to teach in game and that’s really, really hard. You usually try to teach in practice situations, but we don’t have time to practice right now with the way games have gotten backed up. We’ll continue to do the best we can with our guys teaching them with in-game situations and try to make adjustments.”
Charlotte continues their season-long 10-game homestand on Tuesday afternoon hosting Wake Forest on Education Day. First pitch is slated for 12:00 p.m. with live stats and video available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter by following @49erGameDay. Tickets for Tuesday’s matinee are available by calling the Niners ticket office at 704-687-4949.
Ø > Sunday marked Charlotte’s fourth extra-inning game through the first nine this season. The Niners are now 1-2-1 in those four sessions of free baseball.
Ø > The first two Blue Jay runs on Sunday were unearned as opponents have now scored 14 unearned runs against Charlotte in nine games.
> All four hit streaks entering Sunday were extended and will live to see Tuesday. Brett Lang has now hit safely in all nine games while Brad Elwood sees his streak reach seven. T.J. Nichting (6) and Mikal Hall (4) have the others in-progress.