PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Behind eight runs on eight hits and pitcher Lexi Betancourt's third shutout of the season, the Charlotte 49ers softball team blanked the Rhode Island Rhodies, 8-0 in conference play Friday afternoon. With the victory, Charlotte (26-19; 9-6 Atlantic 10) picked up its ninth straight conference win. Rhode Island drops to 18-30-1 overall and 2-12-1 in the A10.
Chelsea Stamey's second inning run-scoring double would prove to be all the Niners would need, as Charlotte scored runs in the second, fifth, sixth and seventh innings in the 8-0 rout.
A two-out, bases loaded error by the Rhodies shortstop allowed the 49ers to push across a second run in the second inning, as Stamey scored for a 2-0 Charlotte lead.
The Niners put together another two-out offensive attack in the fifth, as senior second baseman Lorena Vela and junior left fielder Briana Gwaltney each walked before rookie Samantha Slade notched a single to left field that brought home the third run of the day. The next batter, first baseman Kalie Lang, singled to center field to drive in two more runs, pushing the 49er lead to 5-0.
Charlotte took a seven-run lead in the top of the sixth, when Stamey led off with a hit by pitch and Lindsey Holloman and Alex Rogers followed up with back-to-back base hits to load the bases. Gwaltney's ensuing infield single allowed two runs to come across.
The visitors capped off the scoring with a final run in the seventh after Holloman walked with the bases loaded to bring in Lang, who had singled to lead off the frame.
Lang led the offensive charge, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored for Charlotte. Six other Niners recorded hits in the game. Brittany Julich and Courtney Prendergast each tallied a pair of hits for the Rhodies.
Betancourt facilitated the Niner win, allowing just five hits through 7.0 innings. She struck out two and walked four. For Rhode Island, Erika Szymanski suffered the loss, tossing 5.0 innings and surrendering four earned runs on three hits with four walks and a strike out.
The Niners play Rhode Island again Saturday in a single game beginning at noon.