CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Logan Sherer’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth propelled Charlotte to a 5-4 victory over Winthrop in non-conference baseball action on Tuesday night. The Niners win their season-high fourth-straight, taking the season series 2-1, while sending the Eagles to their fifth-straight defeat.
Tied 4-4 entering the ninth, Jordan Hudson started the rally with a bunt single to third to put him aboard with one out. After Winthrop reliever Jason Driver (4-5) picked up the second out via strikeout, Derek Gallello would extend the inning with his infield single to short. On Gallello’s single, Hudson was nearly thrown out back at second by Winthrop shortstop Kyle Edwards but jarring the ball loose from second baseman Leighton Daniels kept the inning alive for Sherer. The Niner designated hitter took a 1-2 pitch the opposite way to right as Hudson scored ahead of John Menken’s throw to tally the game-winner.
“He stayed on the ball with two strikes,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs on Sherer’s walk-off “He’s gotten a lot better over the last four or five weeks. When you’re strong and you’re bat plane is pretty flat like his is now, you’ll get rewarded periodically.”
Charlotte (18-29-1) jumped on the Eagles quickly with a three-spot in the first for the early 3-0 lead. Hudson led off the frame with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on Nichting’s single to left. Gallello would bring the first Niner run across four pitches later scoring Hudson on his base knock to right.
Nichting would move to third on the Gallello single and soon score on Sherer’s sacrifice fly to center. Two batters later, Mikal Hill would drop a bloop single into left-center that brought home Gallello with the third and final run of the first.
“We had a great start and then didn’t play very well for four or five innings,” continued Hibbs. “We just didn’t do the things we’ve been doing the last three or four weeks. We didn’t play defense the way we needed to, didn’t pitch it the way we needed to and it kind of snowballed on us.”
Winthrop (22-31) came right back in the top of the second to score three of their own to tie the contest back up at 3-3 using just one hit in the inning. Cody Dolan started the inning by reaching on a Niner throwing error and later scored on Babe Thomas’ double to right putting the Eagles on the board. Back-to-back ground outs by Mark Lowrie and Michael Patrick would score John Menken and Thomas to knot the contest at three.
The Eagles would tack on another unearned run in the top of the fourth to take their first lead of the night at 4-3. Dolan started by reaching on a throwing error for the second-straight at bat before later scoring on Lowrie’s double down the left-field line.
The Niners responded with the tying run in the sixth to get the contest squared back up this time at four apiece. Roberts reached on a one-out walk and slide in safely to second with his second stolen base of the night. Down in the count a ball and two strikes, Hill roped a triple to right easily scoring Roberts for the fourth Niner run of the night.
Hill and Gallello each collected two hits in the win while Hill and Sherer each knocked in two. Micah Wells (2-0) registered the win in relief tossing the final 2.2 innings allowing nothing but a hit while fanning one facing one batter over the his minimum. Thomas and Lowrie would each pick up a pair of base hits in the loss for Winthrop.
The Niners will now look towards their final Conference USA series of the year to conclude the 2014 slate. The three-game series with Southern Miss will begin on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. with Friday and Saturday tilts at 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. RHP Corey Roberts (3-4, 3.28) will start the opener for Charlotte on Friday night.