CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Trailing 4-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth, redshirt senior Corbin Shive came up with a pinch-hit, two-run walk-off homer to left sending Charlotte (3-10-1) to a 5-4 victory over VCU (12-3) on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday marked the second walk-off win for the Niners this season completely ending their 10-game winless streak.
Zach Jarrett would lead off the ninth and reach on an error by VCU. Sending a high chopper to first, VCU’s Trevor Marino fired quickly to reliever Matt Lees covering the bag, but Lees was unable to squeeze it cleanly allowing Jarrett to reach on the error. After a perfect sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Patric King moved Jarrett to second, Shive belted his no-doubter, a 1-1 changeup, over the wall in left sending Charlotte to the one-run victory.
“I just went up there trying to put a good swing on the ball,” remarked Shive postgame. “I’ve been struggling with the bat lately so I wanted to get the barrel to the ball and make something happen.”)
The Niners would jump on the board first in the bottom of the fifth as Mikal Hill started the frame with an infield single before Brad Elwood was hit by a 1-0 pitch. Jarrett would drive in Hill on the first pitch with a base knock to left.
VCU responded with a four-run sixth, all with two outs, to take a 4-1 advantage. Matt Davis would score the Rams’ first run on Chris Ayers’ infield single to third. Bill Cullen followed with the big blow of the inning lacing a two-run double to left to put VCU on top 3-1. Landon Prentiss would finish the inning with another run-scoring infield single to plate Cullen.
Charlotte would get one of those runs back in their half of the sixth as Logan Sherer delivered a two-out single to center scoring Hill after his double to left-center. The Niners would make it a one-run game tacking on another tally in the seventh.
Derek Gallello started the inning with a free pass to first and later scored on a fielder’s choice by Des Roberts. With one out, Roberts sent a groundball to short with VCU attempting to turn an inning-ending double play. Roberts just barely beat the relay throw to first on a bang-bang play going in favor of the Niners to score Gallello.
Hill finished the day 3-for-4 for Charlotte with a double and two runs scored. Roberts also picked up a pair of hits in the win. Hunter May, who picked up eight wins in relief last season, scored his first on Tuesday pitching a perfect ninth. Jordan Hudson and Sherer would help keep the Rams off the board teaming up with May for a scoreless 3.1 innings of relief to close things out. Brandon Vogler, making his first career start, looked good in his debut tossing into the sixth allowing one run on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts.
“I’m just happy for our kids,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs afterwards. “People don’t see the work that they put in. We just keep hanging in there and grinding. We beat a good team today, we got a good win against a good team.”)
Charlotte will send RHP Corbin Shive (0-2, 5.00) to the mound tomorrow afternoon against Liberty. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. with tickets available by contacting the Charlotte 49ers ticket office at 704-687-1023. Live stats/video will be available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com as in-game updates will also be provided through Twitter following @Charlotte49ers and @49erGameDay.