Redshirt freshman Brett Lang (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell HS) blasted a walk-off homer to left on a 1-0 pitch to start the ninth as Charlotte came from behind to beat VCU and even the weekend A-10 series in game one of a Saturday doubleheader at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The homer tied Lang for the team lead with three and pushed Charlotte’s overall mark to 17-9, improving the Atlantic 10 Conference record to 3-2. VCU slips to 13-11, 1-4 in league play.
The homer came off of closer Matt Lees, who took his second loss of the season (1-2) after recording his seventh save of the year the night before. He finished with a third of an inning pitched, three hits and one walk allowed.
Charlotte scored first for its first lead of the series. Redshirt senior shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) laced his 49th career double down the right field line to score the game’s first run, and an RBI groundout from redshirt senior outfielder Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La. / Bossier Parish JC) pushed across another run for the quick 2-0 lead.
The 49ers kept the offense rolling in the third, scoring three runs in the frame. Outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) led off with a single to right center, followed by a bunt single from outfielder Michael Green (Richmond, Va. / Thomas Dale HS), which came with a throwing error to move up the runners an extra base. Senior third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) put down a perfect bunt resulting in another single and an RBI before first baseman Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) grounded out for another run driven in. A walk and two outs later, Roland singled for his second RBI of the game and Charlotte led 5-0.
The Rams surged for the lead in the top of the fifth. Four straight singles to start the inning resulted in a bases-loaded two-RBI single from catcher Walker Haymaker pushed across the first runs for VCU. A single through the left side plated a third run and a sacrifice fly from first baseman Brent Mikionis pushed across a fourth run. After a pitching change, VCU’s Taylor Buran, who led off the inning with a single, doubled to left to score two and give VCU the 6-5 lead.
The Rams added a run in the sixth on two hits and a bunt to get the lead to two runs at 7-5.
Charlotte reawakened in the bottom of the sixth, scoring a run on an RBI double from Green to pull to within one. Montalbano scored the run after getting hit by a pitch with one out and advancing on an Elseser single in the inning.
The Niners then got a late lead with two runs in the eighth when Basen singled with the bases loaded for two runs and an 8-7 lead. Basen is 4-for-4 with the bases loaded in 2013.
VCU tied the game in the top of the ninth after a hit, a hit walk and two hit batters in the frame.
The win went to reliever Jordan Hudson (2-0), who pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing one walk.
Elseser and Green finished with three hits each to lead the 49ers. Basen’s three RBI led all players in the game.
NOTES: Charlotte has scored eight runs in the ninth inning over the team’s last five games… It was Charlotte’s fourth win in its last at bat this season.