HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The 2016 baseball season for the Charlotte 49ers came to an end on Thursday afternoon suffering a 13-3 loss to Louisiana Tech at the Conference USA Tournament. The Niners end the year 23-32 overall after being eliminated in Mississippi.
“We were running uphill from the second inning and made a lot of mistakes we haven’t made most of the season,” remarked Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “Once you get to this level of play, everyone is good. I’m proud of the fact we made improvements and made our way to the tournament, but didn’t play as well as we have this season. It’s going to be difficult this time of year in this league.”
Louisiana Tech (38-17) survives to play another day in the loser’s bracket after a five-run second inning jump started their offense. After Chase Lunceford led off the inning with a solo home run to right, the 49ers appeared to have an inning-ending double play ball to get them out of the inning. Instead, a fielding miscue allowed the second run to score and kept the inning alive. A RBI single by Bryce Stark and only error of the day committed by Charlotte saw the Bulldogs score four additional runs to take a 5-0 lead.
Tallying three of those five runs with two outs, the Bulldogs added three more two-out tallies in the fifth already up 6-0. Cody Daigle hit a solo home run to left to extend the inning while a double and two-straight singles accounted for six of LA Tech’s runs coming in with two outs.
Charlotte (23-32) finally got on the board in the top of the sixth as Zach Jarrett led off with a blast to left-center for his fourth dinger of the year and second in as many days. Hunter Jones followed with a double down the left-field line before he later scored on a double play ball to short. In the eighth, Brett Netzer connected on his fifth bomb of the year, a solo shot to right, to score Charlotte’s final run of the year.
Netzer led the Niners with his three-hit performance on Thursday while Jones followed with a pair of hits. The 49ers did set a new school record in the loss on Thursday breaking a 26-year-old mark. To end the bottom of the first, Jones, Netzer and Logan Sherer combined for Charlotte’s 61st double play of the season which broke the old mark of 60 set by the 1990 squad.