|Wrapping up the Baseball Season|
After the conclusion of the College World Series, the final numbers are in for college baseball and in 2011, the Charlotte 49ers put together a solid season on the stat sheet which continues a run of excellence in the program's recent history.
The 49ers have won 30 or more games in a school-record seven-straight seasons. Charlotte has taken 35 or more wins in five of the last six seasons and has captured three of the program's four 40+ win seasons in the last five campaigns.
Charlotte's 43-16 record this season tied the school's second-best win total with the 2008 and 1998 seasons. That win percentage (72.9), was eighth-best in the nation this season.
Charlotte is one of only seven teams in college baseball with a winning percentage better than 70 percent (70.1) over the last six seasons. The 49ers are also among just 14 teams with a Top 75 win percentage in each of the last six seasons.
The 49ers continued another impressive streak in 2011, defeating a team ranked seven or higher in a national poll. Charlotte took down then-number six North Carolina on March 29 4-3, extending the team's streak of recording a win over a team ranked seven or higher in four straight seasons. Charlotte is 4-2 against teams with a single-digit ranking in the past four seasons. The 49ers have registered seven wins over a ranked opponent in the past five seasons, including three NCAA postseason wins in their last three trips to a regional.
After the final posting of the NCAA RPI (ratings percentage index), Charlotte's win over North Carolina gave the 49ers a win over the number-one RPI team in the nation, also sporting a win over the team ranked 14 in the final RPI (Arkansas).
In other categories, the 49ers finished tenth in Division I in team earned run average (2.81) and sixth as a pitching staff in hits allowed per nine innings (7.43). The defense, which aided in the low pitching staff's numbers, turned 59 double plays in 59 games, 25th in overall total and 36th in average at exactly one per game. Offensively, Charlotte was 12th in stolen bases (113), 19th in walks drawn (280) and 25th in triples (21).
Individually, Charlotte had a trio of players that garnered national recognition. Redshirt junior Andrew Smith (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS) was the Atlantic 10 Conference Pitcher of the Year and made the Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball All-America Team, while also capturing NCAA All-Tempe Regional Honors. He became the ninth player in program history to put up 10 or more wins in a single season. He finished with a 10-4 mark and a 1.81 earned run average, tossing 109.1 innings, striking out 92 and walking 26. He had one complete-game shutout, the first for Charlotte since 2007, and was a part of three other combined shutouts as part of Charlotte's team total 11. Those 11 tied the school record for shutouts in a season and finished fifth nationally.
Freshman pitcher Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C. / Hickory HS) also grabbed postseason hardware after 2011. He was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on three different Freshman All-America Teams. He was named a Freshman All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (First-Team), Baseball America (Second-Team) and by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball (one squad named). He had the most wins for a freshman at Charlotte (nine) and finished the season with a 9-2 mark and 2.29 ERA. He pitched in two combined shutouts for the 49ers and tossed one complete game in his first collegiate season.
Redshirt senior Cory Tilton (Cary, N.C. / Green Hope HS) rounded out the national awards for Charlotte, earning a First-Team All-Senior CLASS nod by Lowe's. He was one of ten finalists named to the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award pool for his excellent work on the field, in the classroom and in the community. He was also the Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Student-Athlete of the Year.
Smith and Barnette were named All-Conference, as were Ross Steedley and Justin Wilson. Those four, along with third baseman Shane Basen, were named All-State by the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association.
Smith, Steedley, shortstop Justin Roland and second baseman Corey Shaylor were named to the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team. Shaylor won the Most Outstanding Player award.
First baseman Corbin Shive joined Smith on the All-Tempe, Arizona Regional Team.
The 2012 season will begin at home for the 49ers on February 17.