CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte endured a rough start to their Conference USA series with UAB committing a pair of base running mistakes while leaving 11 runners on during a 6-2 loss on Friday night. The Niners would drop just their second league contest in their last seven matchups despite out-hitting UAB 13-10.
“We had really poor base running tonight,” remarked Head Coach Loren Hibbs afterwards. “We were about a step, step and a half slow on the bases and just not where we needed to be mentally. Tonight was just not good, especially against a good team like UAB.”
UAB quickly got on the board in the first using a pair of their two-out runs as a Ryan Prinzing single to center and Jeff Schalk hit-by-pitch paid off on Nathan Vincent’s two-run double to center. In the second, the Blazers would add their third two-out run on Chase Davis’ single to center that scored Adam Smith. Smith would reach with two outs on a throwing error at third that eventually led to the unearned tally.
Charlotte would get their initial run across in the bottom of the second as Logan Sherer and Jordan Hudson started with back-to-back singles to left. After a sacrifice bunt by Zach Jarrett, Grant Dunnegan would drive home Sherer with a base knock to center. Hudson would later try and score on Mikal Hill’s fly ball to left but UAB left fielder Ivan DeJesus would throw out Hudson at the dish trying to tag on the play.
The Blazers would get the Niner run back in the fourth while adding another to extend the lead out to 5-1. Prinzing would strike again with two out lining a two-run single down the left-field line capping off three-straight UAB hits to start the rally. Jarrett would come up with a big hit for Charlotte just a half-inning later plating Sherer with his single to right after Sherer doubled to left-center making it a 5-2 contest. The second miscue on the base paths for the Niners would end the fourth as Jarrett and Dunnegan both found themselves at third after Mikal Hill’s single to center.
UAB came right back to push the advantage back out to four with a run in the fifth as Mitch Williams’ sacrifice fly scored Schalk after his leadoff walk. Vincent would put Schalk in scoring position with his two-bagger down the left-field line.
Charlotte would have the leadoff man aboard in the first, fifth, sixth and ninth but would be unable to record a clutch hit. Chase Mallard (8-1) escaped Friday night with the win for UAB giving up the two runs on 11 hits while Thomas Lowery (4) worked the final three innings to save it.
“We had good at bats at times and ended up getting 11 hits and got one of the premier pitchers in our league out of there after six innings,” continued Hibbs. “Again, tonight was not good, not what it needed to be. Roberts was not very good at the start of the game which is unusual for him and we just never got into a rhythm.”
Derek Gallello led all at the plate with four hits collecting his third four-hit game of the season. Hill, Sherer, Hudson and Dunnegan would also record two-hit outings.
The middle game of the series will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon with a pre-game ceremony to honor the 1979 Charlotte baseball team. RHP Ryan Butler (3-6, 3.62) will get the start for the Niners while UAB will counter with RHP Alex Luna (5-0, 1.71). Tickets for the Saturday matinee are available online by clicking HERE or by calling 704-687-4949.
Live stats/video will be available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com with in-game updates provided on Twitter by following @NinerBaseball, @49erGameDay and/or @Charlotte49ers.
· The Niners snapped their six-game win streak posting double-digit hits as a team. The last outing with double-digit hits that resulted in a loss was back on March 14th in a 7-6 loss at Middle Tennessee. Friday was Charlotte’s 15th double-digit hit game of the year dropping to 8-6-1 in those contests.
· Five of UAB’s six runs were scored with two outs on Friday giving the Niners 95 surrendered with two outs. Nearly half (95 of 201) allowed in 2014 by the Niners have come with two outs.
· Mikal Hill and Logan Sherer each extended their current hit streaks to six after each recorded their 11th double-digit performance of 2014. Gallello leads all Niners with three four-hit games posting three of Charlotte’s eight on the year.