CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Visiting Evansville a pair of solid outings by both starters to record a 3-2 and 10-2 doubleheader sweep over Charlotte in non-conference baseball action on Friday night. The Niners mounted a rally in game one with a pair of late runs to tie things up, but could only manage two runs on two hits in the nightcap.
GAME 1: EVANSVILLE 3, CHARLOTTE 2
Evansville scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first staking themselves out to a 2-0 lead. Josh Jyawook began with a single up the middle and moved to second on Kevin Kaczmarski’s base hit to right. After a wild pitch moved both runners up 90 feet, Boomer Synek grounded to third with two outs. As it appear the Niners had gotten out of the inning, the throw to first sailed high allowing both runners to score with two outs.
Charlotte would trail 2-0 all the way through the seventh finally getting the tying runs across in the eighth against Evansville starter Kyle Freeland. After a leadoff single by Mikal Hill in the bottom of the first, Freeland (5-1) would cruise into the eighth retiring 19-straight before Logan Sherer broke up the stretch with a one-out single in the seventh.
Derek Gallello started the Niner eighth with a rare walk issued by Freeland before Zach Jarrett singled to left-center. Eric Eason sacrificed both runners with his picture perfect bunt before Brett Lang grounded out to third scoring Gallello with Charlotte’s first run. Hill would come up with the big base hit to tie it lining a single to center plating Jarrett for a 2-2 game.
“Zach Jarrett put a good swing on there in the eighth and Mikal Hill had a great at-bat, he had several great at bats,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs postgame. “Overall, we made no adjustments offensively against a really good pitcher.”
Evansville would score the eventual game-winner in the ninth as Boomer Synek led off getting hit by a pitch later scoring on Jarod Perry’s two-out single to center. Eric McKibban led the Purple Aces in the opener with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Freeland would pick up the win after going the distance allowing two runs on four hits compiling a career-high 15 strikeouts.
Hill would collect two of Charlotte’s four hits in the game one loss. Niner starter Corey Roberts received a no-decision after the two runs scored in the eighth tossing 6.1 innings surrendering the two unearned runs on five hits tying a career-high with 10 strikeouts.
GAME 2: EVANSVILLE 10, CHARLOTTE 2
The Purple Aces grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the nightcap on a two-out single by Synek. Synek drove in Kaczmarski after the centerfielder reached on a two-out single to keep the inning alive. In the fourth, Eric McKibban continued the frame with his double down the right field line and later score on two wild pitches extending the advantage out to two.
Evansville opened up game two in the fifth scoring four more two-out runs to take a 6-0 lead. Perry would leadoff with a single to left and later score on another 49er wild pitch. Kyle Pollock would double home Jyawook in front of McKibban’s two-run single to left that brought home Synek and Pollock.
Charlotte would get their two runs of game two in the sixth as Jordan Hudson broke up Connor Strain’s perfect game with a leadoff single to left. After Gallello was hit by a pitch, both would move up moments later on a wild pitch uncorked by Strain. Patric King would drive in Hudson with a groundout to second while Hill’s sacrifice fly to left-center plated Gallello.
“Poor effort level in game two,” remarked Hibbs. “The effort level was very, very poor. We had opportunities to do some things in front of a really good crowd on a beautiful night to play and we didn’t play. That’s got to change. I want to thank our fan base for staying behind us because we have not played real well at times.”
Evansville responded with their final three runs in the top of the seventh as McKibban continued his Friday tear with a two-run triple down the right field line while Devin Williams’ sacrifice fly to left scored McKibban from third. Pollock would add a solo homer in the ninth to wrap up Evansville’s offensive output.
Pollock’s homer became his third and final hit of game two while McKibbon added three more after his trio in the opener. McKibbon finished the double dip 6-for-8 with a triple, two doubles, four RBI and two runs scored.
Strain (2-2) would toss 7.2 innings before leaving with an apparent injury with two outs in the eighth. The sophomore picked up the win allowing two runs on two hits with three strikeouts. Charlotte would only manage two hits in the second contest with those belonging to Hudson and Brad Elwood.
Game three of the four-game weekend series will take place on Saturday starting at 2:00 p.m. after the Green/White Spring Football game at 12:00 p.m. Fans are reminded to get to campus early on Saturday as parking will be limited in areas until the football game is complete.
RHP Ryan Butler (1-4, 3.68) will get the ball for Charlotte while LHP Cole Isom (2-2, 3.73) will toss for Evansville. Live stats and audio will be provided via http://www.charlotte49ers.com while live, in-game updates will be available on Twitter following @Charlotte49ers and @49erGameDay.