Sophomore third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C / Marvin Ridge HS) snapped a two-all tie in the eighth with a bases-loaded RBI fielder's choice as Charlotte outlasted UNC Asheville 3-2 Friday night to open a three-game series at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The win moved to the 49ers to 8-2 on the season, while the Bulldogs fall to 4-5. Charlotte has outscored opponents this season 19-1 in the seventh, eight and ninth innings combined.
After just one hour of quick play, Charlotte put the first runs on the board in the fifth. Freshman Zach Passerelle (Sparta, N.J.), making his first start of the season, drove in the first run of the game with a double down the third base line to score first baseman Corbin Shive (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) from first after he hit a one-out single through the left side of the infield. After another single, senior outfielder Cory Tilton (Cary, N.C. / Green Hope HS) lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Passerelle and set the 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tied the game up after loading the bases in the top half of the six with three singles to start the inning. Outfielder Mike Vaughn dropped a single down the right field line to score two, but got thrown out between first and second. A pair of strikeouts, with a walk sandwiched in between, ended the inning with a 2-2 tie.
Shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) led off the eighth inning with as single to center, which was followed by walks to Tilton and senior outfielder Justin Wilson (Canton, N.C. / Pisgah HS) to load the bases. Basen grounded to short and beat the relay to first for an out, but the game-deciding run, in the person of Roland, scored the game's final tally.
Freshman Ryan Mas (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS) got the first win of his career in his longest outing, 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. He gave up a hit and two walks, striking out two.
Senior closer Bryan Hamilton (Woodstock, Md. / Mount Saint Joseph's HS) pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out a batter for his second save of the season.
Asheville reliever Matthew Pate took the loss (0-1). He gave up a hit and a walk without record an out in the eighth.
Neither starter got a decision despite controlling the offenses. Asheville hurler Ryan Dull lasted seven innings, scattering five hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. Charlotte starter Andrew Smith lasted 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits and two walks, with three strikeouts.
Game two of the series will be Saturday at 4 p.m. to accommodate a 2 p.m. home men's basketball game. Charlotte's Corey Roberts is scheduled to start against UNCA's Drew Spear.
NOTES: The win was the first for the Niners when outhit by their opponent (Asheville's 10 hits to Charlotte's six)... All of Charlotte's wins have come when scoring three or more runs (Niners are 0-2 when scoring just two runs in 2011)... The Niners are 3-0 in one-run games this season... Charlotte has not allowed a run in either the eighth or ninth innings this season.