WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Tied at 3-3 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Charlotte 49ers would end up on the wrong side of a controversial catch in centerfield that would have ended the inning, instead led to the two go-ahead runs as Wake Forest went on for an 8-3 victory on Tuesday night.
The Niners got things going early in the top of the first as Derek Gallello and Brett Lang started with back-to-back base hits to put runners at the corners with one out. After a Des Roberts loaded the bases, Logan Sherer lined a single back up the middle that scored both Gallello and Lang for a 2-0 lead.
In the Charlotte second, Jordan Hudson led off with a double just inside the third base bag that paid off in the third run of the night just moments later. Zach Jarrett would sacrifice Hudson over to third allowing the centerfielder to score on Mikal Hill’s groundout towards first putting the Niners up three.
“We were ready to play,” remarked Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “We really played well for about two innings and then made a couple of mistakes. We didn’t pitch nearly as well as we needed to and didn’t do some things offensively moving forward like we needed to.”
Wake Forest got on the board in the third with a pair of runs off of reliever Brandon Vogler after Brock Hudgens threw his pre-determined two innings allowing one hit with a walk and strikeout. Joe Napolitano led off for the Demon Deacons with a single to left starting a string of three-straight to start the frame.
Grant Shambley would pick up the third of those three hits to score Napolitano to get the Demon Deacons on the board. Later in the frame, Evan Stephens would score from third on a one-out groundout to third by designated hitter Matt Conway.
Wake Forest would tie things up in the fifth and take a 5-3 lead scoring a pair of controversial runs with two outs. After a Nate Mondou sacrifice fly to center squared the contest at three, the controversy arose three hits later as Will Craig stepped to the plate.
Craig sent a lined into center that Hudson dove in on and appeared to make a clean catch to end the inning. The controversy came in as one umpire said Hudson made the catch, one other umpire said no catch and after a lengthy delay trying to figure out catch or no catch between all three umpires, it was ruled Hudson did not catch it cleanly allowing the two go-ahead runs to score for a 5-3 Wake Forest lead.
The Demon Deacons would extend the lead out to 8-3 as a pair of leadoff singles Conway and Conor Keniry paid off on Craig’s three-run blast to left.
Hudson led the Niners offensively with three of the nine hits compiling his first three-hit game of his career. Lang would end up 2-for-4 on the night as the catcher posted his team-leading 11th multi-hit game of the season.
“He works,” Hibbs referenced in terms of Hudson’s offensive output. “He comes out and gets extra batting practice, listens to what he needs to do with his swing path and continues to work out. When his swing path is what is was tonight, he’s a very productive guy. I’m proud of him. We need more guys doing that.”
The same two teams meet again on Wednesday night with a change of location to Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium in Charlotte. RHP Corbin Shive (1-3, 3.46) gets to throw out the game’s first pitch at 6:00 p.m. Wake Forest counters with RHP John McCarren (1-0, 0.86).
Tickets for the second showdown with the Demon Deacons are available online by clicking HERE or by calling 704-687-4949. Live video/stats will also be available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com with in-game updates provided on Twitter by following @49erGameDay, @NinerBaseball and @Charlotte49ers.