Charlotte pounded out 13 hits against the league leader in batting average against and won 9-3 Saturday to even an Atlantic 10 Conference series at Temple’s Skip Wilson Field. Charlotte improves to 25-19, 9-5 in the A-10. The Owls slip to 16-22, 6-11 in conference play.
The 49ers got perhaps the best pitching performance of the season by starter John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio), who outpitched Temple ace Eric Peterson. Hamilton tossed eight innings, allowing two earned runs by scattering six hits and two hit batters with six strikeouts. Peterson, who leads the league with a batting average against of .185 gave up 13 hits and seven earned runs as Charlotte hit .448 against him for the day.
The 49ers scored first after a leadoff double in the left field corner from Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La. / Bossier Parish JC), followed by two groundouts, one of which got him to third with two outs. Redshirt senior shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) then dropped an RBI single out to center to bring in Montalbano for the 1-0 lead.
The Niners got the first two hitters of the fourth, sophomore designated hitter Derek Gallello (Fredericksburg, Va. / Riverbend HS) and Roland on with singles. After a sacrifice bunt from junior first baseman Grant Dunnegan (Clearwater, Kan. / Hutchinson CC), senior center fielder Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS) had an RBI groundout before sophomore second baseman Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) lifted a line drive for an RBI single to right center as Charlotte took a 3-0 lead.
The Owls got a leadoff triple from shortstop Nick Lustrino in the fourth before a sacrifice fly scored him to cut the lead to 3-1.
Charlotte then surged for four more runs over the next two innings. Junior left fielder Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) hit a double to deep right center to lead off the fifth. He later scored on an RBI groundout from Gallello. In the sixth, Charlotte got three runs on three straight plate appearances that resulted in an RBI. Basen bunted for a squeeze play to score Dunnegan before Seager dropped a second double to right center to plate Elwood and Montalbano lining a ball to left to bring home Seager and give Charlotte a 7-1 margin.
The Owls scored a two-out run in the sixth on an RBI double from second baseman Elijah Yarborough and the score was 7-2 at that point.
Charlotte got an unearned run in the seventh when Roland reached on an error and got all the way to third on a failed pickoff before scoring on a Dunnegan sacrifice fly. In the top of the ninth, the Niners loaded the bases with hits from the first three at bats before Montalbano scored on a ground ball double play for the ninth run of the day.
The Owls got a run in the ninth on a single, a walk and an RBI single from first baseman Derek Peterson for the game’s final run.
Montalbano led all players by tying his career high with four hits. Elwood added three hits. Eight different 49ers recorded an RBI. Seager, Montalbano and Roland led all players with two RBI each.
Hamilton improved to 3-3, becoming the second starter to get his second win in conference for Charlotte.
Peterson took his second loss in his second straight start to drop to 5-2 this season. All seven runs he allowed were earned. He walked one and struck out two in the contest.
Charlotte and Temple will decide the series in the finale on Sunday at noon.
NOTES: Charlotte has won four of its five A-10 Saturday games… The 49ers have recorded double-digit hits in all five conference games on Saturday this season, winning their last four… Charlotte has scored eight or more runs in the last four Saturday A-10 games… Seager’s two doubles give him a 18, into a tie for the conference lead… Basen’s RBI gave him 37 and put him in a tie with Brett Lang for the team lead.