Charlotte starting pitcher Andrew Smith (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS) pitched a career-long 7.1 innings of shutout baseball and the 49ers rode his arm to a 2-0 victory Friday night against Harvard at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The Niners are 13-5 on the season, dropping the Crimson to 1-11. Charlotte is now 13-3, with four shutouts, at home in 2011.
Smith struck out six while scattering three hits and two walks in 97 pitches to get his third win of the season (3-1). He lowered his season ERA to 2.30. He has 31 strikeouts against seven walks in 31.1 innings across five starts in 2011.
The game went scoreless through six as both starting pitchers were stingy against baserunners. Harvard starter Max Perlman tossed seven strong innings, giving up just four hits and three walks, also with six strikeouts. He is 0-3, despite a season ERA of 1.40 in 19.1 innings.
Charlotte scored the game's first run in the seventh when shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) hit an infield single on essentially a swinging bunt with two outs, scoring third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS), who had walked to start the inning and moved from first to third on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Corey Shaylor (Charlotte, N.C. / Independence HS).
The 49ers added the second run in the eighth. Outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning against reliever Ben Sestanovich. He advanced to second on a groundout and scored on an RBI single from catcher Ross Steedley (Granite Quarry, N.C. / East Rowan HS). The hit was Steedley's second of the day, the only batter to accrue multiple hits in the contest.
Freshman Brock Hudgens (Jamestown, N.C. / Southwest Guilford HS) came in and recorded a pair of outs with an inherited runner in the eighth and redshirt senior Bryan Hamilton (Woodstock, Ga. / Mount Saint Joseph HS) faced three in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.
Charlotte and Harvard will play game two of the series Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
NOTES: The three hits allowed were a low total for the pitching staff in a nine-inning game this season, and the fewest in a game since holding Furman to two hits in a 6-1 win on March 9, 2009... The win Charlotte's first when scoring fewer than three runs this season... The 49ers are 10-1 when scoring first, 6-0 when leading after seven and 8-0 when leading after eight innings this season... Charlotte outhit Harvard 6-3 in the game, moving its record to 10-0 when collecting more hits than the opponent this season... Charlotte has outscored opponents 15-2 in the eighth inning this season... This was the first win for Charlotte in a two-run game (1-2) and the first for the 49ers in a game starting at 6 p.m. or later (1-2).