For the third straight game, Charlotte took an early lead into the late innings, but as they did all series, Saint Louis found a way back to a victory in a 6-4 result to sweep the Atlantic 10 Conference series at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Billikens improve to 37-15, 17-7, guaranteed a share of the conference title. The 49ers fall to 20-29, 8-12 in league play.
The Billikens scored first for the first time in the series with a pair of runs in the second. Shortstop Alec Solé singled to left with the bases loaded for the first run of the game, the second coming on a wild pitch in the next at bat.
Charlotte answered with a run in the second, with a one-out double from second baseman Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La.) resulting in a run on a sacrifice fly from outfielder Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS).
SLU extended the lead back to two by scoring without the benefit of a hit in the fourth. A walk and two hit batters loaded the bases without an out before a ground ball double play scored leadoff hitter Mike Vigliarolo for the 3-1 lead.
The 49ers nabbed single runs in each of the middle three innings for the lead. Montalbano tripled to start the fourth, coming home on a RBI groundout by designated hitter Corbin Shive (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS). Outfielder Leland Clemmons (Chesapeake, Va. / Portsmouth Christian HS) doubled in the fifth and scored on a RBI single by third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) to tie the game. Charlotte hit back-to-back singles to start the fifth, with catcher Patrick Raley (Franklin, Tenn.) bringing home Elwood from third with an RBI groundout for the 4-3 lead.
The Billikens got three runs in the eighth on one hit, two walks and two errors to complete the come-from-behind win. Outfielder Jerry Mancuso doubled to drive in the final run of the frame.
The win went to reliever James Norwood, improving his season record to 3-2. He pitched two innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk, with one strikeout.
Closer Travis Parker set the SLU record with his 11th save of the season. He has not allowed a run in his last 37.1 innings pitched. He tossed two perfect frames to end the contest, with one strikeout. Saint Louis retired the last 10 batters it faced.
The loss went to reliever Brock Hudgens (0-2). Neither of the two runs charged to him was earned in 1.2 innings, with two hits a walk and a pair of strikeouts.
Clemmons and Montalbano led Charlotte with two hits each, tying SLU third baseman Grant Nelson for the game-high total.
The 49ers will travel to Wake Forest for the final non-conference game of the season Tuesday at 6 p.m. before finishing out the regular season at home to St. Bonaventure in a three-game series, beginning Thursday night.
NOTES: Charlotte can only earn a spot in the A-10 Tournament with a sweep of St. Bonaventure next weekend and 0-3 weekends by Richmond, Xavier and Massachusetts for the sixth seed... The 49ers saw Shane Brown, Justin Roland and Shive reach base safely, extending their season-long streaks to 23, 25 and 33 games, respectively... Shive's single in the eighth inning extended his hit streak to eight games... The 49ers outhit SLU 10-7 in the contest, dropping their record to 18-10 when collecting more hits than the opponent this season... The 49ers have blown saves in three of the last four games, with just six total this season... Charlotte is 0-5 in games decided by exactly two runs this season, two such games occurring this weekend... Charlotte and its opponents have scored exactly 262 runs each for the season.