The Charlotte 49ers are on the road for the first time this season as the 49ers are set to take on Tennessee (3-0) on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.
Charlotte went 1-2 last weekend against VCU at home in their first series of the new season. First-year coach Robert Woodard and company earned their first and only win of the season against VCU 5-4 in an 11-inning game.
The 49ers are taking on a Tennessee team that outscored Western Illinois 45-4 over the weekend. This power-five match will be the first of five total on the season for Charlotte and only their fifth all-time against Tennessee.
In a long season that has just begun, Woodard hopes his team learns from their first series.
“There’s a lot of things we are taking away from the weekend that are positive,” Woodard said. “We take a look at things defensively we can improve on, on the mound, in the batter's box and we just move on.”
Players to watch
Dominic Pilolli, Charlotte: The freshman outfielder had an impressive debut over the weekend. He led the team in hitting with a .545 batting average, going 6-for-11. He also had two stolen bases. As the Volunteers have already piled on the runs, a busy night from Pilolli will boost the 49ers’ chances of a win.
Trae Starnes, Charlotte: The pitcher is projected to start for Charlotte and earned a win on Saturday against VCU. He came in at the end of the 11th inning and got the last two outs. With a Tennessee team that has racked up a lot of hits, Starnes will need to bring his best performance.
Liam Spence, Tennessee: The Volunteers had 11 players make their debuts over the weekend and Spence led the newcomers. He scored four runs, had three hits and brought in three runs. Spence is an experienced junior who will be a real threat for the 49ers.
Elijah Pleasants, Tennessee: The sophomore will start for the first this year. He had a 2.45 ERA his freshman year. The 49ers will need to be patient and wait for the right pitches to come their way against a solid pitcher like Pleasants.
Keys to a victory
In their only outing, Tennessee overwhelmed their opponent with run after run. The Charlotte defense will need to be in peak performance as the Volunteers have several hitters who can do damage.
Bring the hitting magic back
For a chance at an upset, the 49ers will need to repeat their hitting highs from Saturday when they beat VCU in extra innings. Charlotte hasn’t scored more than five runs so far and will need more than that to take down the loaded pitching staff of Tennessee.