It’s official–the Charlotte 49ers finished in a three-way tie for the regular season Atlantic 10 title. However this is a one-bid league, so if you want the NCAA Tournament, the conference tourney from May 22-25 is where the rubber meets the road. Luckily, Charlotte has home field advantage in their last rodeo in the A-10 before going to the baseball powerhouse, Conference USA.
There are 16 teams in the A-10. Fifteen have a team. (What’s up with that, Duquesne?) Seven make the double-elimination tourney–those that didn’t make it are VCU, St. Joe’s, and Butler (all at 12-12), along with St. Bonaventure (9-15) and Fordham (8-16). Filling out the end are Temple and UMass at 7-17 and Dayton at 3-21.
Those that qualified are the tri-champs, Saint Louis, Charlotte, and Rhode Island, at 17-7. Next up is 16-8 Xavier, then La Salle and George Washington at 15-9, followed by Richmond at 13-11.
On Wednesday and Thursday, there are four games; there are three on Friday. There are either one or two on Saturday, making the total 12 or 13 games to get a champion!
The 49ers play Wednesday, May 22 at 1:30 in the 2 vs. 7 match against Richmond. A win means they play Thursday at 1:30 vs. the Rhode Island-La Salle winner. If they lose the 1st game, they play in an elimination game Wednesday at 8:30 vs. the Rhode Island-La Salle loser. Being in an elimination game on the same day as your 1st game makes it much harder to win the tourney if you lose your 1st game. Richmond is very important.
Coincidentally, the head coach and one assistant at Richmond have been suspended pending an investigation over a confrontation with a player about his alcohol use. The school is checking to see if the confrontation was just verbal or physical per the Richmond Times-Dispatch. We’ll see if the team will be in disarray with this hanging over their heads.
The Niners are facing Richmond with junior starting pitcher Tyler Barnette of the Hickory High Red Tornadoes. Barnette is 6-3 with a 4.10 ERA. He had 58 K’s and allowed 25 walks. He’ll face off against lefty sophomore Zak Sterling of the Spiders who is 4-1 with a 3.82 ERA. Sterling has 48 K’s and allowed 28 walks.
Now I bet you’re asking–how did the seven who qualified for the A-10 Tourney do against each other? Well, Charlotte and Richmond were both 8-4; Saint Louis and Xavier are 5-4. George Washington is 3-6, La Salle is 1-5, and Rhode Island is 1-2. Based on those numbers, things appear in the favor of Charlotte and Richmond. Also of note, the 49ers are 12-6 all-time in the A-10 Tourney, and are 76-28 at home in the A-10.