Senior designated hitter Mike Perkins (Skaneateles, N.Y.) scored a career-high three runs and junior right hander Joe Yermal (Bel Air, Md. / McDonogh HS) earned his first win of the season as the Charlotte 49ers put away the Buffalo Bulls 11-5 at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium Friday afternoon in game one of a weekend series between the two teams. Charlotte is now 2-2 on the young season, while Buffalo lost its first contest of 2010.
The 49ers showed patience at the plate, drawing eight walks and putting an earned run on all five Bulls pitchers in the game.
For the third time in four games this season, Charlotte allowed a run in the first inning. Yermal hit the first batter of the game, Brad Agustin, and allowed him to third on a throwing error in a failed pickoff attempt. He later scored on an RBI groundout by outfielder Adam Skonieczki for the brief lead.
The Niners took the lead that they never relinquished with a pair of runs in the second on two hits, two walks and a passed ball. Outfielder Cory Tilton (Cary, N.C. / Green Hope HS) earned the first RBI of the game with a bases-loaded walk to push across Perkins before outfielder Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) came home on the passed ball for the lead.
Charlotte tacked on another pair of runs in the fourth. Perkins scored again after he led off the inning with a single and came around on a single by Basen and a fielding error on the Bulls. Tilton drove home Basen from third with his only hit of the game, a single to right center for a 4-1 Charlotte lead.
Buffalo got a pair of runs back in the sixth when Yermal gave up a two-run home run by outfielder Charlie Karstedt to pull the game to within one run, but the Niners put up three more in the bottom half on three straight two-out hits by the top of the line-up. Second baseman Corey Shaylor (Charlotte, N.C. / Independence HS) drove in one run, while third baseman Kevin Gillespie (Bedford, Ind.) knocked in a pair of runs, the first RBI of his Charlotte career, with a single to right field to give Charlotte a 7-3 lead.
Charlotte added another run in the seventh on three walks and two hit batters. Shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) came home on a wild pitch with the bases loaded in that inning to push Charlotte's lead to five runs.
A Rob Lawler double in the top of the eighth scored two more runs for Buffalo, but the first career RBI for Basen came with a single to center and Tilton later drove him in on a sacrifice fly for the game's final runs.
Tilton finished 1-for-1 with two walks and a game-high three RBI for Charlotte. Perkins had three hits for the game-high, tying Buffalo catcher Brad Cochrane in that category. Three 49ers and a pair of Bulls had two hits each.
Buffalo starter Pierre Miville-Deschenes took the loss for Buffalo (0-1). He gave up seven hits and four runs in 4.2 innings, though just one runs charged to him was earned. He struck out four and walked three.
Yermal lasted six innings for the win (1-0). He allowed just four hits, striking out four. He gave up three runs, two of them earned, and walked four. Reliever Kelly McLain entered the game with the bases loaded in the eighth with one out and a five-run lead and stayed in to finish the game to record his second save of the season. He gave up one hit and struck out a pair. After 30 appearances last season, McLain has already appeared in three of Charlotte's four games so far this season.
The Bulls committed four errors in the game, making five of Charlotte's 11 runs unearned to the pitching staff.
The three-game series continues for these teams Saturday, with a 1 p.m. first-pitch time scheduled. Charlotte freshman Corbin Shive (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) is slated to start opposite Buffalo senior Chaz Mye.
NOTES: The 11 Charlotte runs were the most at home since last May 8, in a home victory over Saint Joseph's. Charlotte averaged over nine runs per game at home last season and has scored 20 runs in three home contests in 2010.