With the bases loaded and Charlotte trailing the No. 7 Clemson Tigers 10-8, the Niners' senior catcher Zane Williams (Claremore, Okla.) came away with a bases-clearing two-out double down the left-field line to give the 49ers the 11-8 lead and the eventual 11-10 victory. The home win over the Tigers moves Charlotte to 8-4 on the season and drops the Tigers to 13-2. The game marks the end of an 11-game home stand for Charlotte.
Charlotte has defeated a team ranked seven or higher in each of the past three seasons, but it was the first win over a ranked opponent at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium, which opened March 31, 2007. It was the first home win over a Top-25 opponent since defeating then-No. 20 East Carolina on April 13, 2002 in Charlotte.
The Niners kept Clemson off of the scoreboard in the first inning. The 49ers had allowed a first inning run to their opponent in each of the last four games, all home contests.
Charlotte batted around in the second inning to force out Clemson starter Justin Sarratt. Williams drew a one-out walk and later scored on a ground out by shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS). Charlotte then recorded three straight hits, including a two-RBI triple by center fielder Cory Tilton (Cary, N.C. / Green Hope HS) to right center as the Niners put up five runs in the frame.
The Tigers were able to answer by sending nine men to the plate and scoring five in the fourth inning to tie the game. The offense was keyed by right fielder Kyle Parker, who started the scoring with a two-run home run with a full count after a 13-pitch at bat with two outs in the inning. Clemson followed that with two doubles, two singles and a walk to force the tie.
The 49ers scored two to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a single, three walks, including a Williams bases-loaded free pass and a sacrifice fly by Roland.
In the sixth, Clemson got a run back when the first three batters were walked and shortstop Brad Miller lifted a sacrifice fly to center. Wes Hatley (Norwood, N.C. / South Stanly HS) came in to get a groundout for the second out of the inning, and Jordan Hudson (Lexington, N.C. / West Davidson HS) got the third out of the inning on a flyout to allow Charlotte to hold the lead.
The 49ers scratched across an insurance run in the seventh on Roland's third RBI of the game when he singled to center to score third baseman Kevin Gillespie (Bedford, Ind. / Bedford North Lawrence), who walked to lead off the inning.
The Tigers took the lead for the first time in the game with a three-run home run to right by second baseman John Hinson with two outs for a 10-8 lead.
Charlotte loaded the bases in the eighth on a single, a walk and a hit batter, recording one out along the way. After eliciting a popout for the second out, Williams was able to push the 2-1 pitch past a diving Hinson at third to clear the bases.
Patrick Lawson (Hilton Head, S.C.) picked up the victory for the Niners for his two innings of work where he allowed just two hits and struck out three batters to move his season record to 1-0, while Clemson's Tomas Cruz garnered the loss lowering his record to 1-2.
Tilton was one of four Niners to post a multi-hit game with the redshirt junior outfielder going 2-for-4 with two RBI with a triple and single. Williams led all players with four RBI. The reigning Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week has a hit and an RBI in each of the last six games for Charlotte, leading the team with 20 driven in for the season.
Clemson's Parker led the team with three runs scored. Hinson led the Tigers with three RBI.
Charlotte goes on the road Wednesday to face Western Carolina at 6 p.m. before returning home for a three-game weekend series against Harvard starting on Friday at 6 p.m.
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