The Charlotte 49ers baseball team look to have put a disappointing 2012 to rest. Behind Shane Basen and Tony Montalbano’s big day at the plate, the Niners defeated Saint Louis, 10-7, to win their tenth straight game of the season and clinch a share of the regular season conference title in 2013.
The Niners, who haven’t lost since April 26, a 8-3 loss at Temple, are getting hot at the the right time. They key has been their offense and pitching coming together: during this 10-game streak, they’ve outscored opponents 70-30. Throw out tonight’s game and last Sunday’s contest over Dayton (where they allowed nine runs) and this team has allowed four runs or fewer (including two shutouts) in eight of those games.
Charlotte starter Tyler Barnette pitched into the 8th before running into trouble, but his teammates made sure he had plenty of run support. Montalbano went 4-4 with an RBI while Basen was 4-6 with 3 RBI, including a two-run shot in the 6th. Derek Gallello hit his first career homer, a three-run bomb, in the top of the 7th to give Charlotte a 9-2 lead.
Saint Louis would then attempt a comeback, scoring a run in the home 7th followed by four in the 8th to make it 9-7. But that was as close as they would get as Basen’s RBI single in the 9th made it 10-7 Charlotte. Wes Hatley stepped in and pitched a perfect 9th for his fourth save of the year.
Charlotte sends John Hamilton (5-3, 3.07) against Nick Bates (6-3, 4.38) tomorrow. A win either tomorrow or Saturday gives the Niners the regular season title outright and the top seed at the A-10 baseball championship, which begins next Wednesday at The Hayes.