Charlotte baseball returns to Atlantic 10 Conference play this weekend when the 49ers host George Washington for a three-game series starting Friday night at 6 p.m. at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.
Friday’s game will be the 200th played since the facility opened on March 31, 2007 and the 81st A-10 game played at home since that date. The 49ers have posted a 143-56 mark at home (.719) since the park opened and the 49ers are 54-26 (.675) at home in league play since 2007.
Friday will also be Mascot Night, with Norm the Niner and local mascots entertaining the fans throughout the evening.
Sunday, barring injury, redshirt senior Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) will become the program’s all-time leader in games started, reaching the total of 216 for his career. He has started the last 146 consecutive games for the 49ers.
The 49ers are 17-7 all-time against George Washington, including a 13-3 mark as conference opponents. Charlotte won all three games against the Colonials played in Arlington, Va. at Barcroft Park last season and have captured victories in the last four games in the all-time series. Charlotte has won eight of the last nine in the series and is 10-4 all-time against George Washington at home.
The 49ers are 2-2 since the weekend, winning two of three against UNC Asheville at home over the weekend. The 49ers have not won back-to-back games since the last two games of the Siena home series March 16-17, when the Niners won all four games in that weekend series. Charlotte is 19-13 overall, 3-3 in the league play. Charlotte took two of three at Richmond to open conference play, and won just one in the three-game home series against VCU the following weekend.
George Washington started with a sweep of Massachusetts and took two of three from Temple the week after before getting swept last weekend at home against Richmond. After losing their midweek game this week at Georgetown, the Colonials have dropped four in a row and are 11-21 on the season, 5-4 in the A-10.
GW has the worst batting average of the 15 A-10 teams, at .225, while Charlotte comes in fourth-best in the league at .292 for the season. Charlotte leads the league with a 3.32 team earned run average, with GW coming in the middle of the pack in the league, with a 4.37 ERA.
The 49ers have the conference leader in RBI (Brett Lang, 32) runs scored (Justin Seager, 30) and hits (Shane Basen, 49) to this point of the season. Charlotte’s Hunter May leads in wins with six and he is third in the league in opposing batting average against, at .207, with GW’s Max Kaplow right behind in fourth, at .214 this season. Colonial Craig LeJeune is tied for fourth in the conference with four saves this season.
The pitching matchup for the weekend starts with a pair of junior right-handed hurlers. Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) will get the ball for Charlotte in game one. Barnette is 3-1, with a 4.06 ERA and a team-best 40 strikeouts against 13 walks. His strikeout total is tied for sixth-most in the conference. Luke Staub will start for GW in the opener. Staub is 2-4, with a 3.42 ERA and a team-high 32 strikeouts to go with 12 walks.
Saturday, senior lefty John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio) will start for Charlotte. Hamilton is 1-3, with a 3.27 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 11 walks. Junior righty Aaron Weisberg starts Saturday’s 2 p.m. contest. Weisberg is 3-3 this season, posting a 2.91 ERA, 31 K’s and 10 walks.
Sunday’s 1 p.m. finale will feature junior right hander Brock Hudgens (Jamestown, N.C. / Southwest Guilford HS) and his 2-0 mark, 3.97 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 17 walks. He will be opposed by Kaplow, a freshman lefty with a 2-4 mark, 3.22 ERA, 24 K’s and 21 walks.
Tickets for the series are available in advance by calling the 49ers Ticket Office at (704) 687-4949, or by visiting the Hayes Stadium Box Office. The 49ers are averaging just over a thousand fans per game this season, posting sellouts in 10 of the last 14 home dates.