The Charlotte 49ers came up on top against the Richmond Spiders in the postseason again. A four-run bottom of the 7th helped the Niners defeat the Spiders 6-3 in the first round of the Atlantic 10 baseball championships in the Queen City.
After the Spiders took a 3-2 lead into the 7th inning, the Niners gave their home fans something to cheer about. With Patrick Raley at 3rd with two outs, Shane Basen grounded to the shortstop, Mike Small. Small fielded the ball but threw wide of first to allow Raley to score the game’s tying run. That would bring up Brad Elwood, who brought in Basen from second to give Charlotte the 4-3 lead. Elwood advanced to third on a balk, then scored on a Justin Seager double down the right field line. Tony Montalbano then stepped up and singled up the middle to bring Seager in to make it 6-3.
But the Spiders weren’t done. A bases-loaded, one-out single by Jansen Fraser against Ryan Mas made it 6-4, followed by a RBI fielder’s choice to 2nd by Cory Moheit to make it 6-5. That would bring up Small, and he grounded out to Basen to end the game and put the Niners in the winner’s bracket game tomorrow.
It wasn’t the smooth ending the Niners would have liked, but a win is a win, especially at this stage, and Charlotte will take it. In any event, it wasn’t as dramatic as when these two schools met on the basketball court.
Wes Hatley got the win in relief as he went 2.2 innings, allowing two hits and a walk while fanning three. Zach Grossfeld was saddled with the relief loss as he threw 2/3 of an inning, allowing three hits and no earned runs charged to his line; however, he was responsible for the go-ahead run. Mas, who took over for Hatley when the reliever ran out of steam in the 9th, struggled but picked up his fourth save of the year.
Tyler Barnette started for the Niners and went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs (one earned), eight hits and four walks while striking out one. Zak Sterling went six for the Spiders and allowed three runs (two earned), six hits and three walks while striking out three.
Charlotte faces the winner of this afternoon’s La Salle/Rhode Island game–we’ll keep an eye on it and post the results on our Twitter page.