RUSTON, La. – The Charlotte 49ers sprinted out of the gates offensively and received a solid start by Corey Roberts cruising to an 8-2 Conference USA victory at Louisiana Tech on Friday night. The Niners would score half of their eight runs in the opening frame and carry an 8-0 lead through the first four en route to the win.
Corey Roberts (3-4) picked up the win after tossing 7.2 strong innings allowing just two runs on six hits with four strikeouts. With his four fans, that moves the right-hander into ninth all-time on Charlotte’s strikeout list. Nate Traugh would work the final 1.1 innings with a strikeout to preserve the win in a non-save situation.
The Niners wasted no time in racing out to a 4-0 lead scoring four, two-out runs in their first trip to the plate. T.J. Nichting started with a single back up the middle before Derek Gallello drew a walk. Two batters later, Des Roberts would get the scoring starting with a double roped down the right-field line that scored both Nichting and Gallello for the two-run lead.
“That was a pretty good start for all the travel troubles getting here,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “I thought we had a lot of energy, put a lot of good swings on and (Corey) Roberts threw really well. I thought we made some great plays defensively. It was a bit of a weird game, weird night, but a good win on the road anytime we can do that.”
Later in the frame after Mikal Hill’s free pass to first, Brett Lang would take the first offering from starter Austin Greer and hammer it off the centerfield wall accounting for the final two runs of the opening frame and a 4-0 Niner advantage.
Charlotte (15-29-1, 7-17 C-USA) would tack on two more in the second to grab a six-run lead thanks to Zach Jarrett leading the frame off with his first collegiate home run blasting off to left. Jarrett took a 1-0 fastball from Greer (1-1) and quickly laced it out to left for a 5-0 lead. Greer’s night would come to an end two hitters later after 1.1 innings allowing the six runs on five hits. Des Roberts would follow by collecting his third RBI of the night driving home Nichting on a base knock to center for the 6-0 head start.
In the fourth, the Niners continued to open things up as a one-out single by Gallello paid off on Des Roberts’ first home run of the season, first in a Charlotte uniform, with a shot off the scoreboard in right putting the visitors up eight. Louisiana Tech would finally break through against Niner starter Corey Roberts in the fifth getting on the board for an 8-1 game. Tyler Ervine would start with a leadoff single to right and later score on a two-out double down the left field line by Taylor Burch.
Louisiana Tech (15-30, 5-20 C-USA) would tack on their final run in the eighth on Jacob Derouen’s RBI double to center that brought home pinch-runner Chandler Hall.
Des Roberts led all hitters with a 3-for-4 night finishing a triple shy of the cycle rounding out with a career-high five runs driven in. Nichting would add two hits for his team-leading 15th multi-hit game of the season.
“Des was really good,” continued Hibbs. “He’s shortened his swing down and it’s great with his family in town. A couple of other guys had good at-bats as well. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good effort all around.”
Game two of the weekend series will take place at 4:00 p.m. eastern as RHP Ryan Butler (3-7, 3.93) gets the start for Charlotte. Louisiana Tech will counter with RHP Phil Maton (3-7, 4.26). All multimedia links including a live audio feed will be available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com. Live, in-game updates will also be provided on Twitter by following @NinerBaseball, @49erGameDay and/or @Charlotte49ers.