CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte softball (32-23, 11-13 C-USA) capped a historic season Sunday, winning their final game of the 2016 campaign 6-2, led by senior Lexi Betancourt’s final game in the circle of her storied 49er career.
"You saw a team that was determined to not get swept on their home field and a senior who was determined to go out with a win with an offense that wasn't ready to give up," head coach Aimee DeVos said. "We said we were going to finish how we started, and that's what we did and its a great way to head into summer."
"Lexi [Betancourt] is one of a kind," DeVos said of her senior stalwart. "She deserves what she has accomplished, and she ends her season with 20 wins, which is the first time she's done that here. Hats off to her for ending her career like that."
Betancourt picked up four strikeouts en route to her 20th win of the season, bringing her career total to 72. She exits the Charlotte program as the school’s all-time leader in wins, appearances (149), games started (131), and innings pitched (890), and is second in strikeouts (749), third in shutouts (22), and sixth in ERA (2.55).
Sophomore Grace Beatty delivered in big fashion, smacking her third homer of the season to give the Niners the go-ahead lead they would never relinquish. Beatty picked up three RBI with the blast, and was accompanied by classmates Taylar Byrne and Erin Powers, who each registered two hits.
The Niners broke the game open in the bottom of the second, when freshman Lizzy Birch cracked the first hit of the game for Charlotte, slicing a ball to left center. She moved up on Byrne’s single up the middle, and scored as Powers sent a screamer down second base.
LA Tech tied the game up the following frame, taking advantage of an illegal-pitch walk, regular walk, and single.
The 49ers quickly regained control, as freshman Emma Ocker led off the inning with a single that dropped to shallow right center, sophomore Haley Pace walked, and Beatty sent a moonshot over the left field fence to put the Niners up 4-1.
They added insurance in the bottom of the fourth, as Byrne led off with a double and was pinch-ran for by freshman Alex Paulson, and Powers joined her on base via a fielding error to the pitcher. After Ocker was intentionally walked to load the bases, Pace sent a hard hit ball down the way of the shortstop, recording an RBI single as Paulson scored. A wild pitch brought Powers home, giving Charlotte a 6-1 lead.
LA Tech added a run in the seventh, but sharp fielding from the Niners defense all day kept them at bay.
Although the team finished in a three-way tie for seventh, but due to tiebreakers, will not make the trip to Denton, Texas for this year’s Conference USA Championships.