SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Charlotte’s Corey Roberts nearly recorded his second-straight complete game tossing eight strong leading the 49ers to their fourth-straight Conference USA victory during a 5-2 win at UTSA on Friday night. Roberts was aided by two big hits midway through the series-opener before Hunter May closed the door in the ninth.
Roberts (2-3) would throw his eight innings allowing two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts during his second-straight win. Roberts wouldn’t allow a single UTSA hit over a span of 4.2 innings early on Friday and benefit from two of Charlotte’s three double plays balls turned on defense.
“Fantastic effort by him again,” remarked Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “He struggled early in the season, but pays attention, works and has caught up to the speed of the game.”
May would register his second save of the year working most of the ninth getting around an infield single before inducing a game-ending twin-killing to preserve the Niners 5-2 win.
The Niners got on the board in the fifth breaking a scoreless contest up with a leadoff hustle double by T.J. Nichting and a two-run bomb to left off the bat of Corbin Shive. Shive belted his team-leading fifth homer of the year to put Charlotte up 2-0.
Charlotte (13-25-1, 5-13 C-USA) would open things up an inning later posting a three-spot to take a 5-0 lead over the host Roadrunners. Derek Gallello started the frame with a liner into center before Brett Lang sacrificed him to second via the bunt. Des Roberts would execute a hit-and-run with Gallello moving towards third grounding his chopper off the second base bag allowing the Niner third baseman to score for a three-run advantage.
After Logan Sherer singled to right and Shive walked to load the bases, Zach Jarrett would come up with the second biggest hit of the night lining a two-run single to left extending the lead out to 5-0. Jarrett drove his 2-2 pitch from reliever Wesley Cox into left that scored Des Roberts and Sherer for late insurance. The Niners would chase UTSA starter Brock Hartson (4-2) after 5.2 innings of work surrendering all five earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Entering Friday, Hartson had only allowed 12 earned runs all year pitching 65.1 innings in 2014.
UTSA (26-16, 11-8 C-USA) would get through in the eighth after a leadoff double by John Welborn paid off two fly balls later as R.J. Perucki picked up the RBI with his sac-fly to center. The Roadrunners final tally on the night would come on the first pitch of the ninth as Jesse Baker belted his team-leading sixth homer to left ending Corey Roberts’ bid at a complete game.
Charlotte out-hit UTSA 10-8 in the win led by Nichting’s 3-for-4 outing. Des Roberts would also collect a pair in the win. Mike Warren would lead the Roadrunners going 3-for-4 himself.
“It’s a really good win tonight against a really good team,” continued Hibbs. “He (Shive) put a good swing on it in the fifth. Zach Jarrett had a really good at-bat with two strikes and two outs. It was just a good effort all the way around.”
The middle game of this three-game Conference USA series will take place on Saturday afternoon beginning at 3:00 p.m. eastern. The Niners will call on Ryan Butler (3-5, 3.68) for the start going against LHP Nolan Trabanino (6-2, 2.72). Live audio will be available by logging onto http://www.charlotte49ers.com. In-game updates will also be provided via Twitter by following @NinerBaseball, @49erGameDay and @Charlotte49ers.