The Charlotte 49ers softball team will begin play in the Conference USA tournament. The Niners will look to receive the automatic bid and head to the NCAA tournament starting later this month.
Charlotte finished the season with an impressive record of 30-17 overall. The team earned a goodbye after winning the C-USA East and will play the six-seed Louisiana Tech and seven-seed Marshall contest winner.
The 49ers come into the conference tournament riding high after winning the season's final series against the Marshall Thundering Herd. The team has had many great wins this season against North Carolina, Appalachian State and Syracuse. They will look to take lessons learned from the season into the C-USA tournament.
Junior catcher Bailey Vannoy will fuel the 49ers. Vannoy was recently named as the program's first C-USA Player of the Year. She finished the regular season batting .386 with 59 hits and 13 home runs. She also led the nation in doubles with 21, tying a program record set in 1996. She will look to continue her monster tear in the conference tournament.
Four other Niners received some prestigious awards as well. Graduate student Kourtney Gremillion was named to the All-Conference First Team. Nicole Bowman and Madelyn Wright were named to the C-USA All-Conference Second Team. Wright and Cori Henderson were also named to the All-Freshman Team.
Charlotte's bats have been hot over the past two weeks as they have broken two single-season records during that time. First, they smashed the doubles record against UNC Greensboro, hitting 93 this season. Against Marshall, Kiyah Garrett hit two home runs in the doubleheader to break the home run record, posting 38 as a team throughout the year.
The 49ers have had a great season that has been full of multiple award winners and some big wins for the young program. They will look to put it all together this week in the C-USA tournament.
Scouting the Opponents
The team will either play the Marshall Thundering Herd or the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Marshall has had a season filled with ups and downs, but they boast a record of 19-12 overall. Louisiana Tech went 22-29 this season with hopes to meet the Niners on Wednesday night.
The 49ers have yet to play Louisiana Tech, so if the Bulldogs win the matchup, it will be new territory for both teams. Charlotte is coming off a 3-1 series win over Marshall in the season finale series for both teams.
The 49ers will wait to see who they play in their first-round matchup in the tournament.
Keys for a Charlotte Win
The long ball has been key for the 49ers all season and would allow for the team to score early and often. Charlotte has combined for 38 home runs this season, and it will be key if the team hopes to come out on top.
The 49ers have struck out teams at a remarkable rate. The pitching staff finished the season with 227 strikeouts and will look to keep this up on the defensive side. Wright and Lindsey Walljasper will be on the mound, leading the charge for Charlotte.
Lastly, the team will look to accomplish something great together as a whole. It has been a season filled with cancellations and adversity, but they have continued to fight through it all. For the first time since 2017, the 49ers are back in the C-USA tournament and are ready to make their presence known.
Charlotte will take on the winner of LA Tech and Marshall tonight at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN+. If the 49ers win the matchup, they will play again tomorrow against the two-seeded UAB Blazers at 4:30 p.m.