The Charlotte 49ers (1-2) played the best they could to start off the season against Virginia Commonwealth University Rams (2-1) in the season opener. They suffered a huge loss in the first game, won the second game and attempted to get a win in the final game of the series. The first series of the season was played on Friday, Feb. 14, Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16.
Game 1: Charlotte 5, VCU 17
The top of the inning started off with Brandon Henson from VCU hitting a home run and making his way to home base. His teammates, Liam Hibbits and Logan Amiss, also made it to the home plate making the score 0-3.
During the bottom of the second, Carson Johnson ran home from second base allowing the 49ers to get on the board. Craig Keuchel was able to do the same thing at the bottom of the third which brought the score to 2-3.
The top of the fourth was rough for the 49ers. Not only did the pitcher change from Bryce McGowan to Justin Offschanka, but Josh Simon, Steven Carpenter, Brett Norwood, Paul Witt and Henson all had runs which changed the score of the game to 2-8. Henson made it to the home due to his second home run.
VCU changed their pitcher from Justin Sorokowski to Evan Chenier at the bottom of the fourth. The 49ers responded when Josh Haney, Dominic Pilolli and Zach Weston’s runs made the score of the game 5-8.
At the top of the fifth, Carpenter and Norwood hit home runs advancing the score of the game to 5-10. After this, the 49ers changed their pitcher from Offschanka to Ethan Earhart. Jack Schroeder ran from second to plate during the top of the sixth increasing the lead for VCU to 5-11.
The top of the seventh started off with Earhart being taken off the mound and replaced by Spencer Ard. Paul Witt scored for VCU shortly afterward changing the score to 5-12. Once Schroeder was up to bat, they switched Ard out with Jackson Boss.
The score of the game remained this way until the top of the ninth when Tyler Locklear, Hogan Brown, Simon, Aguila and Norwood all had runs which made the final score of the game 5-17.
“We will learn more from games like this and games when we come out on the positive side,” Head Coach Robert Woodard said, referring to what he is going to tell his players after this loss.
Game 2: Charlotte 5, VCU 3
The first runs of the game were by Amiss and Locker at the top of the second, starting the game 0-2. The 49ers answered back when Haney ran from third base to home during the bottom of the third changing the score to 1-2.
The game was tied at the bottom of the fourth thanks to Johnson. The score remained this way until the bottom of the seventh when Todd Elwood made a run for the 49ers, giving them a one point lead over the Rams, changing the score 3-2.
At the top of the ninth, the game was tied once again due to Amiss’s run. The Rams continued to increase their lead because of Brett Young’s run at the top of the 11th. This made the score of the game 3-4.
With bases loaded at the bottom of the 11th, the 49ers secured a win over the Rams via David McCabe and Carter Foster’s run. The entire team ran out onto the field, celebrating their first win of the season. The final score of the game was 5-4.
Coach Woodard was satisfied with not just his first win as head coach of the baseball team, but also with the team as a whole.
“There’s a lot of guys that enabled us to get us into that position,” Woodard said.
Game 3: Charlotte 4, VCU 8
The game started out slow until the top of the third when Simon had a run, already putting the Rams in the lead. At the bottom of the third, Mason Delane suffered an injury so Madison Furman took over for him.
At the top of the fifth, Norwood had a run, making the score of the game 0-2. There were two more runs in the top of the sixth by Simon and Norwood. This advanced the Rams’ lead to 0-4.
Simon hit a home run at the top of the eighth. There were two more runs by Young and Norwood changing the score to 0-7.
The 49ers finally got a point on the board during the bottom of the eighth thanks to Keuchel, extending their lead to 0-8.
The Rams continued to increase their lead at the top of the ninth due to Carpenter’s run. The score of the game going into the bottom of the ninth was 1-8.
The 49ers attempted to make a comeback with McCabe and Vazquez’s runs. Keuchel went up to bat and hit a home run. The final score of the game was 4-8.
“We’ve got some things to improve, there’s no doubt about it...we’ll get back to work tomorrow,” Woodard said.
The Charlotte 49ers hit the road to take on Tennessee on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.