Charlotte baseball made overcame a five-run deficit for its largest comeback of the season, breaking a ninth-inning tie with six runs in the final at bat to take a 12-6 win Tuesday night at USC Upstate at Harley Park. The loss was just the second of the season for Upstate at home, and Charlotte completed the season sweep of the Spartans after an 11-0 shutout in Charlotte on March 13. The 49ers are 13-12, dropping Upstate to 18-6.
The Niners got in a hole in the first when the Spartans scored three in the first, and singles runs in the second and third for a 5-0 lead.
Upstate got just one hit after that third inning as the bullpen tamped down the offensive charge to allow the 49ers to come back.
Charlotte put leadoff runners on in innings three through seven and scored runs in all four innings to get the comeback started.
Freshman second baseman Derek Gallello (Fredericksburg, Va. / Riverbend HS) had his first hit with the bases loaded this season with an RBI single in the fourth to get the 49ers on the board.
In the fifth, an RBI fielder's choice from third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) and a a single from designated hitter/relief pitcher Corbin Shive (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) scored the two runs to get Charlotte to within two. The hit gave Shive a hit in eight-straight games, a career-high total.
Charlotte tied the game with two more runs in the sixth, as outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) hit a two-RBI single through the left side to level the game after the Spartans walked the bases loaded in the frame.
The Niners took the lead in the seventh. After Basen was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, he scored on an RBI triple from first baseman Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) for the 6-5 lead. Of Seager's 15 hits this season, more than half have gone for extra bases. His three triples leads the squad at this point of the season. He has 11 RBI in his 15 hits in 2012.
The Spartans tied the game back in the bottom half with an RBI single after the leadoff batter was walked.
The game remained tied to the ninth, when Charlotte sent 12 batters to the plate. The Niners had the bases loaded with one out when a wild pitch pushed across the go-ahead run. One walk later, redshirt freshman Patrick Raley (Franklin, Tenn.) recorded the first extra-base hit of his career with a bases-clearing double to right center to break open the game. Two more players had RBI in the inning, finishing with a bases-loaded walk to Shive for the 12th run of the day for the 49ers.
Charlotte reliever John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio) got his second win of the season (2-0). He tossed the last three innings of relief, allowing one hit and recording three strikeouts.
The Spartans three seven different pitchers in the contest, with reliever Andrew Wyant taking the loss (0-1). He allowed two baserunners without recording an out to start the ninth.
Outfielder Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La.) led the 49ers with three hits, while Raley led all players with three RBI.
The 49ers finish the seven-game road swing in Cincinnati for a three-game weekend series at Xavier. The series-opener starts Friday at 3 p.m. at Hayden Field.
NOTES: The comeback victory was the sixth for Charlotte this season... It was first game this year for Charlotte in which the score was tied at the end of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings... Charlotte came into the game 4-for-27 with the bases loaded (.148) but went 3-for-7 in this contest with the bases full, recording six RBI in those at bats... Charlotte's four relief pitchers allowed a combined two hits and struck out eight batters over the final 8.1 innings... Charlotte is 4-0 all-time at USC Upstate.