CHARLOTTE, N.C. – UAB scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning to steal a 2-1 victory from Charlotte in the Conference USA baseball opener on Thursday night. The go-ahead run came across in the form of a two-out bunt single.
“We didn’t do some things some good things offensively so we need to make adjustments and be better tomorrow,” quipped Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “With the conditions, hats off to both teams for playing at a high level defensively with the playing surface that was very wet.”
Charlotte (22-29, 11-16 C-USA) broke through in a scoreless ballgame during the bottom of the fifth as Derek Gallello crushed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right to give the Niners a 1-0 lead.
UAB (20-33, 11-17) started their ninth inning rally on a Jared Nixon pinch-hit single to right with one out. Four pitches later, Jacob Armstrong slapped a double down the left field line to put runners at second and third with one out. Riley McCown tied it up with his ground out to second before Adam Smith beat out a bunt single to third scoring Armstrong with the two-out, game-winning run.
The Niners had a couple of early chances to get on the board as Reece Hampton began the bottom of the first with a walk, but was doubled off first as Brett Netzer smoked a line drive to second. In the second, T.J. Nichting led off with a double to right-center, but a pair of strikeouts and fly out ended that threat. A first and second situation for the 49ers with two outs in the fifth after Gallello’s home run couldn’t produce a run.
UAB spoiled Josh Maciejewski’s sixth win of the season after the left-hander worked 7.2 innings throwing a six-hit shutout with five strikeouts. Garrett Whitlock (4-5) took the win for the Blazers after going the last 2.2 innings limiting the Niners to just one hit.
Due to weather still in the area, Charlotte and UAB will attempt the middle game of the series beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday. The game time has been moved up two hours from the originally scheduled 3:00 p.m. start. Live video/stats will be provided at http://www.charlotte49ers.com. All fans are encouraged to follow @NinerBaseball and @Charlotte49ers for weather-related game time changes on Friday.
CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT RACE UPDATE
· Derek Gallello’s fifth inning home run was hit third of the year and second at home this season.
· Gallello and Reece Hampton each led the Niners with a pair of hits Friday despite UAB out-hitting the 49ers 9-7.