CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the third-straight game, the Charlotte 49ers benefitted from a complete game effort on the mound on Friday afternoon during a 2-1 Conference USA victory over Tulane. Ryan Butler tossed his second complete game in three outings needing just an hour and 40 minutes to lead the Niners to a season-high three-game win streak.
Butler (3-5) got around his only run in the first scattering just four hits fanning five in the victory. Butler needed just 108 pitches, seven fewer than his complete game against Evansville two weeks ago, hitting the strike zone 70 times limited the Green Wave to just two hits over the final seven innings.
“He was a little bit elevated early in the game, but he got down in the strike zone and his breaking ball got better as the game went on,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs postgame. “It was a great day to pitch with the wind blowing in and it being a little bit cooler.”
Richard Carthon of Tulane wasted zero time lining the first pitch of the game down the left-field line to immediately set the stage for the Green Wave. After Jake Rogers dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push Carthon over to third, Garrett Deschamp drove him in with a groundout to third.
Tulane’s (15-22, 6-13 C-USA) first frame would be the only productive inning of the day as Butler retired a string on 10-straight and recorded five perfect frames of three-up, three-down baseball.
In the fourth, the Niners (11-24-1, 4-13 C-USA) would take advantage of a Tulane fielding error and cash them into a pair of runs to take a 2-1 lead. Brett Lang was the Niner who reached on the fielding error by the Green Wave at third scoring on the very next pitch as Des Roberts drilled a double to the gap in left-center. Roberts would advance to third on the throw home from left trying to retire Lang which allowed him to score on T.J. Nichting’s sacrifice fly to center.
Green Wave starter Randy LeBlanc (3-4) suffered the tough-luck loss throwing his own complete game allowing the two unearned runs in the fourth on just three hits while striking out a half-dozen. Nichting would collect two of Charlotte’s three hits on the day while Roberts had the other with his fourth-inning double.
“That’s probably the best infield defense we’ve played all year,” continued Hibbs. “I’m proud of the effort, just a good effort all the way around. Overall, when you can win a game when you don’t get a lot of hits or really do a whole lot offensively and still win that’s a good day.”
The third and final game of the weekend series will take place on Saturday afternoon beginning at 12:00 p.m. RHP Brock Hudgens (1-4, 3.59) will get his first start since throwing his complete game last Sunday at Florida Atlantic going up against RHP Tyler Mapes (4-2, 1.97) of Tulane.
Tickets for the series-finale are available by calling the Niners ticket office at 704-687-4949 or online by clicking HERE. Live stats/video will also be available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com while in-game updated will be provided through Twitter following @Charlotte49ers and @49erGameDay.