CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte starter Ryan Butler picked up his first career complete game on Saturday afternoon leading the Niners to a 4-1 victory over Evansville. Butler went the distance allowing one run on six hits while striking out three in front of a standing room only crowd of 1,138 at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.
“I’ve been working hard with Coach Hall, that’s been the biggest thing,” commented Butler after his complete game. “When I stay smooth, I throw where I want to throw it and good things happen like today.”
Butler (2-4) would throw 74 of his 115 pitches for strikes getting 16 ground ball outs on Saturday. Butler got through an easy first before getting a double play ball to help his second. The third inning would be one of three perfect frames for the right-hander. Evansville would mount a threat in the ninth getting the tying run to the plate after a single by Boomer Synek and double by Jonathan Ramon until Butler recorded a pop up to short, comebacker to the mound and caught Jarod Perry looking at strike three to end the game.
“Butler was probably the best he’s been all year,” remarked Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “He had good velocity, breaking ball was pretty good, changeup was pretty good and we played good defense behind him. This is a good win against another good team.”
The Niners would have the first real threat of the day brewing in the third as Derek Gallello and Eric Eason drew a pair of walks while Mikal Hill reached on an error at short to load the bases. Evansville starter Cole Isom settled down to get a fly ball to right from Zach Jarrett and a pop up to first by Des Roberts to end the threat.
Evansville would score the game’s first run in the fifth only to see Charlotte bounce back to tally three in their half of the fifth for a 3-1 lead. Josh Jyawook drove in Eric McKibban with a fielder’s choice before Brett Lang started the Niner rally with a leadoff single to left-center.
After Eason laid down a sacrifice bunt, Hill drove in Lang with a single down the left field line tying the contest 1-1. Two pitches later, Zach Jarrett gave Charlotte a 2-1 lead with his triple to right-center before he later scored on a Des Roberts groundout to short.
Insurance for Charlotte came in the form of a Corbin Shive solo home run down the left field line in the sixth. Shive connected for his team-leading fourth blast of the year on a 1-0 pitch.
“Seems when he makes contact it usually goes for a double or home run,” joked Hibbs about Shive’s homer. “We were a little rusty early the game but we had energy. Our guys have pride, it was a really good day.”
The fourth and final game of the weekend series will take place on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m. RHP Brock Hudgens (0-3, 4.28) gets the start for Charlotte while Evansville will counter with RHP Matt Rodgers (3-0, 5.11). Live stats/video and tickets available for the series-finale are available online at http://www.charlotte49ers.com.