RUSTON, La. – The Charlotte 49ers scored seven two-out runs and rode the right arm of starter Brock Hudgens to claim a 7-3 victory in Sunday’s series-finale at Louisiana Tech. The three-game series sweep over the Bulldogs is the Niners first since doing it exactly a year ago after taking all three from Dayton in Charlotte.
“Our guys really dug down again today,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “It’s so hard to win on the road, let alone sweep somebody on the road in this league. I’m proud of the effort, really good effort.”
The Niners would take advantage of a Bulldog error to break a scoreless contest up in the top of the fourth. Logan Sherer began the two-out rally by keeping the inning alive on his single to center before moving to second and third on Louisiana Tech wild pitches. Mikal Hill would then send a grounder over to second misplayed by the Bulldog defense resulting in an error and Sherer scoring the game’s first run.
Charlotte (17-29-1, 9-17 C-USA) would mount another two-out rally in the sixth to score a pair of runs extending the lead out to three. Des Roberts started this rally with a single to center keeping the inning alive for Hill. Hill, down in the count 0-2, rocketed a double off the wall in right to plate Roberts for a 2-0 lead. Two pitches later as Hill broke for third on a hit-and-run, Brett Lang would lace a single into left to easily bring home the Niner shortstop pushing the lead out to three.
In the eighth, the Niners would take advantage of another two-out opportunity and use the second Bulldog error of the day to make it a 4-0 contest. Roberts reached on a one-out single to left, moved to second on a groundout by Hill and later scored on Brett Lang’s infield single. On Lang’s single cut down at short, the late throw to first went array allowing Roberts to score from third.
Louisiana Tech (15-32, 5-22 C-USA) would get on the board in the eighth and ninth to make things interesting once again, but the Niner bullpen was once again equal to the task. Tyler Ervine started the Bulldog eighth with a single up the middle while Tyler Qualls was hit by a pitch. Thomas Simoneaux’s groundout to second and Stephen Gandy’s sacrifice fly helped Louisiana Tech cut slice the lead in half at 4-2 heading to the ninth.
Big insurance would come for the Niners in the ninth as T.J. Nichting and Derek Gallello would keep the inning alive on back-to-back base hits before Sherer crushed his fifth home run of the season, second in as many games, to left giving the Niners a 7-2 lead. The final Bulldog run came in the ninth on Ervine’s sacrifice fly but Hunter May would shut the door on a final comebacker to the mound picking up the save in a 7-3 victory.
May tossed the ninth coming in after Nate Traugh faced two hitters allowing just one hit to record his fifth save of the year. Hudgens (3-5) registered the win after going seven strong allowing one run on seven hits with five strikeouts in the victory.
“He (Hudgens) got us to our bullpen which was what we needed,” continued Hibbs. “I thought Hunter May dug down again and it’s tough going back-to-back days going out of the bullpen.”
Four Niners collected two hits in the win as the team pounded out 12 as a team. Nichting, Sherer, Roberts and Lang were the four as Sherer and Roberts each scored a pair of runs.
Charlotte will now head back home to wrap up the 2014 season with four games scheduled the week at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The Niners will host Winthrop in their final non-conference tilt of the year before welcoming Southern Miss for the final Conference USA series of the year. Tuesday’s first pitch against the Eagles will be at 6:00 p.m. as will the opener with Southern Miss on Thursday night.