CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The last of six-straight non-conference contests await the 49ers baseball team as Charlotte travels to Winthrop for the second time this season on Wednesday night. The Niners will head to Rock Hill for the second of three meetings this season after taking a convincing 11-2 victory at Winthrop on March 25th.
Charlotte (8-21-1) saw Evansville take three of four over the weekend that started with a doubleheader sweep by the Purple Aces on Friday. Trailing 2-0 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Niners would get back to even heading to the ninth as Derek Gallello walked and Zach Jarrett singled to start the frame. After an Eric Eason sacrifice bunt, Brett Lang’s groundout to third would be enough to score Gallello for a 2-1 game. Mikal Hill followed with a clutch two-out single up the middle scoring Jarrett with the game-tying run. Evansville would use their own two out hit in the top of the ninth en route to their 3-2 win.
Evansville bolted out to a 6-0 lead in game two Friday as the Niners had to play uphill for the rest of the evening. The lone bright spot came in the sixth as both Charlotte runs came across thanks to a Patric King ground out and Hill sacrifice fly to center.
In Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Purple Aces, it was junior right-hander Ryan Butler leading the way with a complete game victory, the first of his career, allowing one run on six hits with three strikeouts. Of his 115 pitches, 74 would pierce the strike zone. Trailing 1-0 into the fifth, Hill would drive in the first of three runs in the inning scoring Lang with his single to left. Jarrett would then triple home hill while later scoring on a Des Roberts grounder to short. Insurance in the eighth was added thanks to Corbin Shive’s team-leading fourth homer of the season.
The Purple Aces took advantage of a two-out error in the top of the fifth on Sunday to break a 1-1 tie with a three-spot during their 4-2 victory. Charlotte got on the board in the first inning as Roberts beat the throw to first on a ground ball to short while the second and final tally came on Roberts’ base hit to right.
Winthrop (16-18) will look for some revenge against the Niners coming off of a successful weekend against Radford. The Eagles took the first two games of the Big South series 6-0 and 7-4 before falling in Sunday’s series-finale 1-0.
Starter Sam Kmiec tossed a complete game shutout allowing four hits with nine strikeouts on Friday while Michael Patrick led the offense with three hits and three of the six runs scored. Winthrop trailed 4-3 on Saturday before scoring a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh using a wild pitch, sacrifice bunt and two walks to score the four runs. Radford’s Michael Boyle hurled a two-hit shutout using 14 strikeouts to stifle the Eagles on Sunday.
In the first meeting between these two teams, Charlotte would score five in the fourth followed by two more runs in each of the last three innings to pick up the 11-2 win. Lang recorded a three-hit night to lead the Niners while Logan Sherer registered three runs driven in. Shive picked up his first win of the season on the mound going six strong allowing two unearned runs on five hits with five strikeouts.
Charlotte will send Shive (1-2, 2.86) to the mound again on Wednesday night looking for a repeat performance at Rock Hill. The third and final meeting between Charlotte and Winthrop will take place on Tuesday, May 13th at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.