Junior outfielder Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) had career highs with four hits and three RBI as Charlotte's bats continued to be hot in Friday's series-opening home win over Youngstown State 9-3 at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium in a non-conference baseball contest. Seager had two doubles and a triple, part of four extra-base hits for the game for Charlotte and 11 now for 49ers this week in two games. Charlotte improves to 4-0 at home and 5-2 overall on the season. The Penguins slip to 2-7 this year.
Seager is batting .519 for the season, with half of his 14 hits for extra bases (including six doubles). He is slugging at .815, with a .606 on-base percentage through the first seven games of the season. He hit two doubles in both games for Charlotte this week, including Wednesday at Wake Forest, where the 49ers had seven doubles of the squad's 11 hits.
The 49ers came out of the gates with four quick runs in the first inning, sending all nine to the plate. With two on and one out, hit his first triple of the season and plated the first two runs of the game. He scored on an RBI single from Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS), who later stole third and came home on a throwing error on the catcher to put Charlotte up 4-0. The 49ers are 3-0 this season when scoring in the first inning.
Youngstown State scored its first run of the day on two hits and a passed ball for an unearned run.
The Niners answered with a run in the bottom half. Seager led off with a double and eventually scored on a ground ball double play in the frame to give Charlotte the 5-1 lead.
The Penguins drew a hit batter in the fifth and junior third baseman Drew Dosch hit the first pitch he saw in the inning off the base of the light standard in the right field for a two-out home run, pulling the game to within two at 5-3. It was his second homer of the season and he had all three YSU RBI in the contest, tying Seager for the game-high total.
After that point, Charlotte starting pitcher Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C.) settled in, retiring the next eight in a row before being lifted after the seventh on 113 pitches. Barnette improved to 2-0 with seven solid innings, allowing just four hits and two walks in the outing. He struck out five and allowed three runs, two of them earned in the contest.
Charlotte added more offense in the bottom of the seventh. Seager singled to drive in third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) for the second time in the game. Redshirt freshman Brett Lang (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell HS) hit an infield single to score Seager and freshman catcher Nick Daddio (Huntersville, N.C. / Hough HS) recorded his first career RBI with a bases-loaded single for an 8-3 score.
First baseman Grant Dunnegan (Clearwater, Kan. / Hutchinson CC) doubled to drive in the final run of the game for Charlotte in the eighth. His double was the 11th extra-base hit for Charlotte in its last two games of 26 total hits.
The loss went to YSU's Patrick O'Brien (1-2). He pitched five innings, allowing nine hits and two walks. Four of the five runs charged to him were earned. He struck out three 49ers.
Charlotte reliever Jordan Hudson (Lexington, N.C. / North Davidson HS) tied his career high with three strikeouts in the final two innings. He allowed a walk but no hits in that span on 26 pitches.
The series continues with a noon doubleheader on Saturday.
NOTES: Seager's four doubles and a triple this week came out out of six total hits in 10 at bats in two contests (slugging 1.200 and scoring a team-best six runs)... He has recorded four two-double games in his career, three this season, though this was the first one at home... Since joining the A-10 in 2006, Charlotte has outscored opponents 369-266 in the first innings of games, posting a 131-35-1 mark when scoring in the opening frame of games in that span... All five Charlotte wins this season have come when scoring at least seven runs and putting up at least three runs in a single inning... Daddio's bases-loaded hit was the fifth for Charlotte with the sacks full this season... The 49ers had 11 bases-loaded hits in 2012.