San Antonio, Texas- The Charlotte 49ers desire to win shined through the overcast skies as the Niners defeated UTSA in a Conference USA series finale, 5-3. Charlotte used a three runs seventh inning to improve to 15-16 on the season and 6-8 in C-USA play. UTSA falls to 18-21 with a 6-6 mark in conference play.
"I'm so excited and proud of these girls," said Aimee DeVos. "The desire to win and compete was incredible. We played all out and truly never gave up. Taking the series on the road made it a big weekend for us."
Five different Niners contributed hits in the win. Jes Plemmons paced the Niners going 2-4 at the plate with a RBI and a run scored. Natalie Capone, Jackie Kleinsmith, Chelsea Ingersoll and Jessie Fennell picked up a hit apiece.
Charlotte struggled at the plate going nine-up and nine-down through the first three innings. Natalie Capone (St. Charles, Ill./ St. Charles North) drew a four pitch walk for the first base runner. Samantha Slade (Apex, N.C./ Apex HS) would sacrifice Capone over to second on the bunt. An infield miscue allowed Jackie Kleinsmith (Santa Maria, Calif./ Righetti HS) to score Capone from second for the first run of the game for either team.
Charlotte's lone senior Chelsea Ingersoll (Charlotte, N.C./ Butler HS) found the long ball for the first time this season in the top of the fifth inning sending a 2-2 pitch over the left centerfield wall and gave the Niners a 2-0 lead.
UTSA took the lead with one swing of the bat in the bottom half of the fifth. Megan Low singled up the middle under the glove of Capone to start the rally. Courtney Buchman battled at the plate to reach on a 10 pitch walk. Jori Fox gave the Roadrunners its first lead of the game at 3-2 with a three-run homer to left field.
Lexi Betancourt (Garner, N.C./ West Johnson HS) started the Niner rally in the top of the seventh inning getting on base with a hit-by-pitch. Capone pushed Betancourt up 60 feet on an infield bunt single to the third basemen. With the Niners staring at the face of defeat, Jessica Plemmons (Lexington, N.C./ North Davidson HS) singled down the first base line scoring Betancourt for the tying run. Kleinsmith would give the Niners the go ahead blow with a double into the right center gap scoring Capone and Plemmons for the 5-3 lead heading to the bottom half of the seventh.
The Roadrunners would pick up a single in the bottom half of the seventh but kept off the scoreboard allowing the Niners to take the three game series in comeback fashion.
Lexi Betancourt (14-8) picked up her second win in the series and fifth straight win. Betancourt pitched the complete game allowing three runs off seven hits and striking out six.
UTSA's starter Nicole Merrill pitched five innings allowing two runs off two hits, picking up the no decision. Merrill picked up the win in game two of the series. Kacy Freeze (10-9) took the loss tossing the final two innings allowing three runs off four hits.
Charlotte has won five of the last six as the Niners head to Furman for a midweek non-conference doubleheader, April 9 with first pitch at 4pm.