Charlotte baseball returns to the conference road this weekend, just outside of Philadelphia in a three-game series at Temple starting on Friday at 3 p.m. at Skip Wilson Field in Ambler.
The 49ers have averaged two wins per weekend for an 8-4 Atlantic 10 Conference start at the midway point of the league schedule, in a tie for fourth place in the league standings, one game back of third place and three games behind league-leading Saint Louis. Charlotte is 24-18 overall. The Owls enter the weekend at 15-21 overall, 5-10 in league play, in 11th place in the standings.
As they did last week, Charlotte lost both midweek games, at home to Presbyterian by an 8-3 count on Tuesday before dropping Wednesday’s 10-2 decision at No. 1 North Carolina. The 49ers won two out of three at Xavier to get into a tie with the Musketeers by virtue of a pair of one-run wins in Cincinnati. Charlotte is fourth in conference with a team batting average at .283, but leads the league with a 3.31 earned run average.
The Owls were swept on the road at Rhode Island last weekend and spilt a pair of home games this week. Temple beat Villanova Tuesday afternoon 8-4 before dropping a Wednesday home decision to George Mason 9-5. Temple is seventh in the league with a .268 batting average and is sixth in conference with a 4.12 earned run average.
The 49ers lead the all-time series 11-4, dropping at least one game in three series and nine games at Skip Wilson Field. This is the second of two in-league return trips for Charlotte this season, having visited Xavier and Temple last year.
Both teams will send their regular pitching rotations in the weekend series, with the Owls sending twins Patrick and Eric Peterson to the mound on Friday and Saturday, respectively, finishing the series with Dan Moller on Sunday. Patrick Peterson is 1-5 and Moller is 1-4, while Eric Peterson took his first loss of the year at the hands of the Rams and is 5-1. He leads the team with a 1.92 earned run average and has struck out a team-best 57 batters this season, second-most in the league.
Junior Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) has a 3-2 record for the 49ers, striking out 47 batters, the second-highest total on the squad this year. He will pitch the opener. Saturday at 1 p.m., Charlotte’s John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio) will take the hill. He is 2-3 this season, with a 3.95 ERA. The back-to-back defending A-10 Pitcher of the Week, junior Brock Hudgens (Jamestown, N.C. / Southwest Guilford HS), will throw for Charlotte on Sunday. Hudgens struck out a career-high 10 batters at Xavier last weekend and had struck out 15 hitters, allowing two earned runs in his last two A-10 starts, a span of 15.1 innings. Hudgens is 4-0 this season, with a team-best 52 strikeouts, fifth most in the A-10. His 3.10 ERA leads the starters.
Offensively, Charlotte junior Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) leads the league in runs scored (34) and is tied for the league lead in hits (56) this season. Seager is second in on-base percentage (.462) and fifth in batting average (.361) and slugging percentage (.510) thanks to his 15 doubles, second-most in the conference. Seager has also drawn the fourth-most walks in the league, with 25. Charlotte redshirt freshman Brett Lang (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell HS) has a league-best 37 RBI.
Temple’s Derek Peterson is tied for fourth in the A-10 with 12 doubles this season. Eric Peterson leads the league in opponent’s batting average, at .185, the only mark below .200 by a pitcher with enough innings to qualify this season.
Live audio from the weekend will be provided by the Niner Network at Stretch Internet Radio.