Freshman starting pitcher Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C. / Hickory HS) tossed his first career complete game as the No. 28 Charlotte 49ers powered past visiting Fordham 8-3 to claim an Atlantic 10 Conference weekend series at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. The 49ers improve to 31-9, in first place in the A-10 with an 11-4 mark. Fordham slips to 24-15 overall, 7-5 in league play. Charlotte has captured 30 of 33 home series of three games or more since the stadium opened March 30, 2007.
Barnette scattered six hits and two walks in the outing, which was Charlotte's fifth complete game of the season, giving all three weekend starters at least one each. Barnette's previous career-long outing was 7.1 innings.
Both teams were able to push across first-inning runs on one hit. Fordham scored leadoff hitter Nick Martinez after he got aboard with a hit, stole second and scored on a pair of groundouts.
The 49ers tied up the game in the bottom half. Senior outfielder Justin Wilson (Canton, N.C. / Pisgah HS) drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a single up the middle by sophomore third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS). Wilson came around to score on a fielder's choice from redshirt sophomore outfielder Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La.) for the tie. The RBI was Montalbano's second of the series. Charlotte is perfect 11-0 when scoring at least one run in the first inning this season.
The Rams were able to scratch another run after a hit batter and two walks loaded the bases with no one out in the third. Charlotte freshman starting pitcher Tyler Barnette (Hickory, N.C. / Hickory HS) induced ground ball for a double play and a line out to left to escape with just one run scored in the frame.
The 49ers took the lead with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the third. After a single, a sacrifice bunt, a walk and another single, Montalbano came up with the bases loaded and pushed a single through the left side to score a run. He leads the team with five hits and 11 RBI in bases-loaded situations. Senior second baseman Corey Shaylor (Charlotte, N.C. / Independence HS) followed that with a two-RBI double down the left field line. Designated hitter Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) then lined an RBI single off the third base bag to score Shaylor and complete the scoring for the frame.
The Niners tacked on another run in the fourth. With two outs, redshirt sophomore shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) shot his fourth double of the season out to left center. That hit was followed by a single to left by Wilson for the RBI and the 6-2 lead.
Both teams added a run in the fifth inning as well. The Rams run came on two singles and a 49ers error. Catcher Ryan David drove in Nick Martinez from second for the RBI.
Barnette then retired 12 of the last 13 batters in the game, including a stretch of 10 in a row in the closing frames.
Charlotte kept scoring, loading the bases in the bottom half on a single sandwiched between two walks for senior outfielder Cory Tilton (Cary, N.C. / Green Hope HS), who grounded into a fielder's choice for an RBI. Tilton leads the team with 40 RBI this season. He also stole two bases in the game, giving him a conference-leading 25 this year. His 66 career stolen bases are seventh all-time in program history.
The Niners extended the lead in the eighth, with catcher Ross Steedley (Granite Quarry, N.C. / East Rowan HS) doubling to left to score Tilton from second.
Barnette improved to 5-1 on the season. The 49ers team ERA remains at 2.12, entering Sunday the lowest in the country.
Fordham starter Max Krakowiak took the loss (4-5). The senior allowed seven earned runs in four innings on nine hits and three walks. He recorded one strikeout in the contest.
Shaylor led all players with three hits in the game.
The 49ers will play their last weekday road game Tuesday, at Winthrop. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Rock Hill, S.C. The 49ers will return to conference action next Friday at Massachusetts.
NOTES: Charlotte is 25-5 at home this season, including a 7-2 home conference record... The 25 home wins ties the 2007 season for sixth-most home victories in a single season at Charlotte... The 49ers recorded 11 hits, bringing the team batting average up to .300 after the weekend... The Niners are 24-2 when collecting more hits than their opponent, outhitting Fordham 11-6 on Sunday... The 49ers are 23-1 this season when leading after five innings... Charlotte has outscored opponents 89-32 after the sixth inning this season.
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