CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Coming off of a successful road trip that saw Charlotte sweep Louisiana Tech in a three-game series, the Niners will return to Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium to wrap up the 2014 season with four games starting with Winthrop on Tuesday night. The 6:00 p.m. tilt will be the third and final matchup with the Eagles as each team has a victory under their belts in the two previous meetings in Rock Hill.
Charlotte (17-29-1) set the tone for the series right off the bat on Friday scoring four runs in the first inning on their way to an 8-0 lead and an eventual 8-2 victory over the Bulldogs. Des Roberts put together a career night going 3-for-4 finishing a triple shy of the cycle with five RBI.
Scoring started with Roberts drilling a two-run double down the right field line in the first before Brett Lang hammered his own double off the centerfield wall that scored Roberts and Mikal Hill to complete the four-run first.
In the second, Zach Jarrett would belt his first collegiate home run to lead things off before Roberts collected his third RBI in just two innings driving in T.J. Nichting with a base hit to center. Scoring wrapped up two innings later as Roberts once again drove in two crushing a two-run shot off the scoreboard in right-center for the Niners eight runs. Corey Roberts would get the win tossing a strong 7.2 innings allowing two runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
On Saturday, the Niners would have to fight off a furious comeback by the Bulldogs to hold on for a 5-4 victory. Charlotte took advantage of a Louisiana Tech error to get on the board in the second turning what should have been an inning-ending double play into an unearned run as Logan Sherer scored on Brett Lang’s fielder’s choice.
After Louisiana Tech scored their own pair of unearned runs to take a 2-1 lead in the fifth, the Niners came right back with a four-spot in the sixth to provide the final tallies in the one-run win. Derek Gallello would leadoff and reach on a hit by pitch before quickly scoring on Sherer’s first of two homers on the weekend sending a two-run blast to left giving Charlotte the lead back at 3-2. Grant Dunnegan’s RBI single and Jordan Hudson’s ground rule double provided the other two Niner runs.
Up 5-2, Charlotte would have to fight off the Bulldogs comeback as the home team made it a 5-4 game, but closer Hunter May would help strand four Louisiana Tech base runners over the final three innings getting a final 4-6-3 double play on the game’s final pitch to preserve the win. Ryan Butler recorded Saturday’s victory going 6.1 innings allowing four runs, two earned on six hits.
The Niners would once again have to fight off another Bulldog rally on Sunday to hold on for a 7-3 win and series-sweep in Ruston. A Louisiana Tech error in the fourth led to another unearned run for the Niners on Hill’s groundball to second. In the fourth, Hill would drill a double off the wall in right to plate Des Roberts before he later scored on a hit-and-run with Brett Lang.
In the eighth, another Bulldog error led to a 4-0 Niner lead before two Louisiana Tech runs set up a dramatic ninth inning in a 4-2 game.
Needing insurance as the Bulldogs had picked up some momentum from their previous half-inning, Sherer would once again come up huge sending a mammoth three-run shot to left to bolt the Niners out to a 7-2 lead en route to the 7-3 win.
Brock Hudgens recorded the win going the first seven allowing one run on seven hits with five strikeouts. May would once again tossed the ninth allowing just one hit to snag his fifth save of the year and second of the series.
Seven of Charlotte’s eight runs on Friday were scored with two outs while two more two-out runs were added on Saturday. The finale wrapped up with all seven runs again being tallied with two outs completing the weekend with 16 of the 20 total runs being registered on the last out of the inning.
Winthrop (22-30) enters Tuesday night riding a four-game losing streak that includes a Big South Conference sweep at the hands of Charleston Southern over the weekend. The stretch started with a 4-1 loss at North Carolina A&T before dropping a pair of close games in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The Eagles fell 8-6 in Friday’s opener before being out-played 10-2 on Saturday. Charleston Southern finished off the sweep with a 6-4 victory on Sunday.
The Niners will send RHP Brandon Vogler (1-2, 3.91) to the hill on Tuesday night for his final start of 2014. Tuesday will mark Vogler’s first start since April 4th having a couple of relief appearances since. His last was three innings of shutout ball against UAB last weekend. The Blazers managed just one hit while striking out twice.