“This is a tough pill to swallow,” remarked Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “We have to do a better job on the front end of games.”
Charlotte (19-28, 8-15 C-USA) began the afternoon with a run in the bottom half of the first as a Brett Netzer one-out single to right starting the offense. After Netzer stole second, T.J. Nichting drove him in with a two-out single down the right field line.
Old Dominion (29-17, 12-11) came right back and responded with an eight-run, six-hit top of the second to all of a sudden take a seven-run lead. Turner Bishop tied the game with his RBI double down the right field line while Chris Livers singled on the next pitch up the middle for a 2-1 ODU lead. A bunt with first and third resulted in a Niner throwing error that scored the third run while a following wild pitch made it 4-1. After a RBI double and sacrifice fly, Jason McMurray’s RBI single to center resulted in the final of those eight runs coming across.
The 49ers got two of those run back in the bottom of the fourth putting together a two-out rally of their own. Hunter Jones kept the inning alive with an infield single to short before Derek Gallello belted a two-run shot to right three pitches later to trim the lead down to 8-3. An inning later, Logan Sherer cut the lead in half teeing off on the first pitch of the frame for his 10th home run of the season.
Charlotte’s best opportunity to completely erase the big deficit came in the seventh as Netzer and Sherer drew back-to-back walks while Nichting’s single to center loaded the bases with nobody out. Drew Ober was able to score Netzer from third on the next pitch but the cost was a 6-4-3 double play turned by Old Dominion to minimize a potentially big inning.
The Niners out-hit the Monarchs 10-8 on Saturday led by Netzer’s three-hit day. Bishop had the only multi-hit day for ODU with his double and single.
The bullpen duo of Brandon Vogler and Brandon Casas kept the Niners hanging around with their outings on Saturday. Vogler soaked up 5.1 innings allowing just three hits with five strikeouts while Casas went the final two frames going a perfect six-up, six-down.
“Our bullpen was fantastic,” finished Hibbs. “Vogler and Casas threw really well. Offensively, we got back in the game and had opportunities, but we just didn’t have the at-bats we needed to have. We have a lot of guys doing things the right way, but we have some key guys at times that aren’t performing as well as we need them to perform.”
The third and final game of the weekend series will take place on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m. Live video/stats will be available for those unable to attend will be at http://www.charlotte49ers.com.