Charlotte baseball plated four runs in the seventh and came from behind for the third time in four games against Richmond this season to advance in the Atlantic 10 Tournament by a 6-5 final at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium Wednesday afternoon. The win for Charlotte was their 11th by one run this season and is the fourth time the 49ers have opened the A-10 Tournament with a win, winning the tournament in all three previous times with an opening-game win. The 49ers improve to 35-21, winners of 11 of the last 13 games. Richmond slips to 30-23 on the season.
Charlotte will face Rhode Island Thursday at 1:30 p.m., while the Spiders will play the first elimination game of the tournament Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m.
The Spiders led for the majority of the game, scoring a run after a hit batter, a stolen base and an RBI single from left fielder Jansen Fraser in the second.
The 49ers answered in the fourth with a one-out double from right fielder Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La. / Bossier Parish JC) and an RBI single from redshirt freshman designated hitter Brett Lang (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell HS) to tie the game at a run each.
The Spiders quickly retook the lead in the top of the fifth with two unearned runs after a walk, a throwing error and two RBI singles, from Pat Forrer and Tyler Beckwith, for the 3-1 lead.
Charlotte got a run back in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back singles to start the frame by redshirt senior outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) and senior Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS). The two advanced on a groundout before a sacrifice fly from sophomore second baseman Brad Elwood to make the score 3-2 Richmond.
That score held until a two-out error on the Spiders scored a run and extended the seventh inning for Charlotte, with the 49ers hitting back-to-back RBI doubles from Elwood and first baseman Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) to score four runs and take a 6-3 lead.
Richmond got the bases loaded in the ninth and managed to score two runs to pull to within one, but reliever Ryan Mas (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS) got his fourth save of the season by recording a pair of outs in the frame.
The win went to Charlotte reliever Wes Hatley (Norwood, N.C. / South Stanly), who tossed 2.2 innings of relief to improve his record to 2-2. Hatley struck out three and walked one on 49 pitches.
The loss went to reliever Zach Grossfeld, who was tagged with three unearned runs in the seventh frame. He allowed three hits to the five batters he faced.
Beckwith finished with the game high of four hits for Richmond and Montalbano had Charlotte’s high total of three hits. Richmond’s Fraser and Charlotte’s Elwood had two RBI to tie for the game-high total.
The 49ers did not play either Rhode Island or La Salle in the regular season, but will face the winner of that Wednesday game in game six of the tournament Thursday afternoon.
NOTES: The win was the 27th for Charlotte at home this season, tied for the fourth-most in program history... Charlotte is 11-8 in 2013 in one-run games, and won their sixth game when trailing at the end of the sixth inning (6-16)… The 49ers are undefeated when scoring six or more runs this season (23-0).