CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After stepping out of Conference USA play last weekend against Evansville, the Charlotte 49ers will get back into and remain in league play traveling to Florida Atlantic for a three-game weekend set. The Niners will remain in Conference USA play throughout the rest of the weekends during the 2014 season.
“They’re really good,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “It’s a team that made it all the way to the regional final at Chapel Hill. They’ve got most of their team back from last year.”
Charlotte (8-22-1, 1-11 C-USA) will head to Florida after suffering a 5-2 road loss at Winthrop on Wednesday night. The Niners erased an early 2-0 deficit with runs in the third and fourth to tie contest at two. Brett Lang, who had two hits in the loss, doubled with one out in the third and later scored on Mikal Hill’s single to left. In the fourth, it was Lang who came up with the clutch hit lining a two out single to right scoring Corbin Shive with the game-tying run.
The Niners were unable to get much going after the fourth inning as Winthrop’s bullpen combined to toss a one-hitter over the final five frames.
Florida Atlantic (17-15, 5-10 C-USA) enters the weekend after suffering a 1-0 loss at Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday night. The two teams were scheduled to play in Boca Raton on Tuesday, but had that contest rained out. Five Eagles hurlers combined on a three-hit shutout as the Owls were blanked for the fifth time this season.
The Owls have struggled over the last three weeks of Conference USA play dropping two of three last weekend at Marshall, two-of-three at home to Southern Miss before that and were swept at nationally-ranked Rice in mid-March.
Brendon Sanger leads the Owls hitting .320 on the year just five points ahead of teammate Stephen Kerr who stands at .315.The Niners have Mikal Hill leading the way hitting .295 entering the important league weekend.
Florida Atlantic is currently hitting .275 on the year as a team, but see that number dropped to .252 inside league play. The overall earned run average stands at 2.88 but increases to 3.42 in C-USA action. In comparison, Charlotte will enter the weekend with an overall average of .239 dipping down to .222 on the conference slate. The ERA balloons from 4.02 to 5.68 as well.
Florida Atlantic holds a 1-0 edge in the all-time series with the one and only meeting between these two teams taking place nearly 29 years ago. The Owls scored a 4-2 victory here at Charlotte back on May 4th, 1985. 17-15,
This is one of two highly important weekends back-to-back for the Niners with both teams currently on the outside looking in for the conference tournament. FAU stands 11th in the league while Charlotte is behind in 13th. Entering the weekend, next weekend’s home opponent Tulane is also on the outside in 10th.
“Every weekend is difficult, every weekend matters,” continued Hibbs. “If you can steal a game here or there, maybe grab one win that you wouldn’t otherwise, it all matters at the end and there’s going to be a whole lot of teams bunched together when all is said and done.”
Live audio for all three games will be available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com. In-game updates will also be provided via Twitter following @49erGameDay and @Charlotte49ers.
CHARLOTTE/FLORIDA ATLANTIC WEEKEND ROTATION
Friday (6:30pm): RHP Corey Roberts (0-3, 4.01) vs. LHP Austin Gomber (2-5, 3.61)
Saturday (4:00pm): RHP Ryan Butler (0-4, 3.94) vs. RHP Jeremy Strawn (2-4, 3.45)
Sunday (12:00pm): RHP Brock Hudgens (2-4, 3.15) vs. RHP Drew Jackson (4-0, 2.52)