Charlotte baseball broke out of a four-way tie to take sole possession of third place in the Atlantic 10 Conference after a 6-1 victory over visiting Butler at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium Friday night. The 49ers have won three in a row and improve to 27-19 overall, 11-5 in the league. The Bulldogs had a six-game win streak snapped and fall to 23-19, with a 10-6 league mark.
The win was the 20th home victory for Charlotte. It is the 16th time in 35 seasons that the 49ers have captured 20 home victories.
After getting staked to a 6-0 lead, Charlotte junior starter Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) earned his first conference win and improved to 4-3. In seven innings, he scattered seven hits and three walks, striking out five.
Charlotte scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the first. Back-to-back doubles from senior Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) and sophomore Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) resulted in a run. Those were followed by an RBI single from junior Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) to bring in Elwood and a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs committed an error in the second that resulted in an unearned run on a bunt single from senior Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS) for a 3-0 lead.
Charlotte plated two more two-out runs in the fourth for a 5-0 lead. Third baseman Derek Gallello (Fredericksburg, Va. / Riverbend HS) bunted his way on with one out and two batters later, redshirt senior J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) hit his first career triple to drive in a run. Elseser scored later on a wild pitch in the frame to complete the scoring for that inning.
Charlotte added a run in the fifth after Basen singles and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Seager hit his league-leading 19th double with an RBI for a 6-0 lead.
The Bulldogs broke up the shutout with a run in the seventh when Charlotte turned a ground ball into a double play with the bases loaded in the frame.
The loss went to Butler starter Eric Stout too the loss, falling to 7-5. He allowed 10 hits and a walk, with five earned runs.
Basen led all players in the game with three hits and two runs scored. He played shortstop for the first time since February 25, as teammate and regular shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Roland) was lost for the season with an injury. It was Basen’s fourth three-hit game this season, and fifth time scoring two runs in a game this year. Seager led all players with two RBI. He reached base in all four plate appearances, finishing with the two hits.
Junior Jordan Hudson (Lexington, N.C. / West Davidson HS) tossed the final two scores frame for Charlotte. He allowed two hits and recorded a strikeout.
Reliever Kyle Allen finished the game for Butler, tossing 3.1 shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks.
Game two of the series will be Saturday at 2 p.m. The 49ers will honor the 20th anniversary of the 1993 squad, the first to reach the postseason in program history before the contest.
NOTES: Charlotte first five runs came with two outs, with four two-out RBI, giving the 49ers 91 for the season… Charlotte improved to 3-10 in night games, but is 20-3 when scoring first this season, 11-2 when scoring in the first inning… Charlotte is 19-0 this season when scoring six or more runs… Charlotte held the top five in the Butler lineup to two hits in 18 at bats.