CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte 49ers baseball team will get back to Conference USA action this weekend traveling to Middle Tennessee for their second three-game league set of the year. Friday’s series-opener is slated for 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. central) with Saturday and Sunday contests at 5:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Both teams will be meeting for the very first time on Friday.
The Niners (3-10-1, 0-3 C-USA) will head into Murfreesboro after a 5-4 walk-off victory against VCU on Tuesday afternoon snapping a 10-game winless streak. Corbin Shive came up big in the ninth blasting a pinch-hit two-run homer to left for the dramatic victory. Zach Jarrett started the inning by reaching on a Rams error before Shive homered on a 1-1 changeup. Mikal Hill picked up three hits in his four at-bats scoring two of the five runs. Hill leads the 49ers overall through 14 games of the season hitting .370 on the year, has a team-high five multi-hit games, and is 11 for his last 27 hitting at a .407 clip.
Charlotte opened up Conference USA play suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of nationally-ranked FIU. Brett Lang led the Niners going 3-for-10 in the series with a double and run scored. Charlotte managed just 12 hits as a team in the sweep by FIU. As a team, Charlotte is hitting .241 through 14 games with a staff earned run average just over four at 4.06.
Middle Tennessee (5-10, 1-2 C-USA) will begin the weekend after a 2-0 home loss to #26 Tennessee. The Volunteers (15-1) scored a pair of runs in the third and limited to the Blue Raiders to just five hits in the shutout victory.
The Blue Raiders dropped two-of-three on the road at UAB to open up their Conference USA slate last weekend in Birmingham. Middle Tennessee won the opener 4-3 scoring two runs in the top of the ninth before falling 6-4 and 2-0 over the weekend. The Blue Raiders managed just 17 hits in the series (5, 7, 5) led by Austin Bryant’s 3-for-10 series posting a double, triple, RBI and run scored.
Bryant leads Middle Tennessee overall with a .357 batting average through 14 games. Trent Miller follows closely behind hitting .333. The Blue Raiders are hitting .243 as a team entering the weekend with a staff ERA of 5.50.
“We’re pretty much going into the series blind,” Head Coach Loren Hibbs commented on having never faced Middle Tennessee. “They’ve got a good solid program up there. We’re excited to play in a place we’ve never played before against a team we’ve never played before.”
Corey Roberts (0-2, 4.76) will get the game one start for the Niners making his fourth start of the year. Roberts was touched up in his last outing against FIU surrendering eight runs on 10 hits in his short-lived 2.2 innings in game two Saturday. Prior to his FIU start, Roberts had been nearly unhittable allowing just five runs, one earned, on 13 hits while striking out 11 in just over 14 innings of work.
Charlotte/Middle Tennessee Weekend Rotation
Friday (7:00pm): RHP Corey Roberts (0-2, 4.76) vs. LHP Zac Curtis (2-0, 4.97)
Saturday (G1 - 1:00pm): RHP Ryan Butler (1-1, 1.89) vs. RHP Paul Mittura (0-0, 3.86)
Saturday (G2 - 4:00pm): RHP Brock Hudgens (0-1, 3.32) vs. LHP Johnathan Frebis (0-3, 5.59)