Charlotte scored three unearned runs in the fourth inning and behind seven strong innings from starter John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio), the 49ers stayed a perfect 5-0 at home in a 3-1 Saturday win over Youngstown State at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium in non-conference baseball action. Charlotte is 6-2 overall, dropping the Penguins to 2-8.
It took Charlotte until the fourth inning to get on the scoreboard first, with three runs on two hits and two costly errors. Redshirt senior outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, followed by a ground ball from senior third baseman Shane Basen (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge HS) that turned into an error. After a groundout moved the runners up a base, sophomore second baseman Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) dropped a suicide squeeze bunt that was mishandled to score both runners and get him to second. A single through the left side of the infield from redshirt freshman catcher Brett Lang (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell HS) drove in Elwood for the third and final Charlotte run.
Hamilton's seven innings were a career-high to get the victory (1-1). Charlotte's closer the last two seasons struck out five while scattering four hits and a walk. He saw two baserunners in an inning only in the first and retired the side three times in the outing on 105 pitches. He lowered his team-leading earned run average to 1.23 in 14.2 innings and three starts.
The Penguins were able to get a double and a single off the Charlotte bullpen in the ninth, loading the bases with a two-out walk. Charlotte walked designated hitter Dan Popio for YSU's only RBI of the game. Reliever Wes Hatley (Norwood, N.C. / South Stanly HS) gave up the walk, but got an infield groundout to end the game and capture his first save of the season.
The loss went to Penguins starter Blake Aquadro (1-2), who did not allow an earned run. He gave up all six Charlotte hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts on 96 pitches.
The 49ers and Penguins postponed the second game of the scheduled doubleheader to Sunday due to the forecast for rain on Saturday afternoon. The twinbill is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
NOTES: Basen got a single in the eighth to extend his career-long hit streak to 17 games... Junior outfielder Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) hit a double to lead off the sixth inning... It was his seventh double of the season and his fifth in three games this week... Eight of his 15 hits this season are for extra bases as he holds a slugging percentage of .800 through eight games... Redshirt senior shortstop Justin Roland (Salisbury, N.C. / East Rowan HS) singled to start the bottom of the first for Charlotte, extending his streak to 37 consecutive games reaching base safely, dating back to 2012... The win was the first for Hamilton in five career starts, pushing his career record to 6-4, with an ERA of 2.62... he now enough innings to qualify for career marks and that ERA is the lowest in school history for any pitcher with 100 or more innings (2.62), ahead of previous leader Adam Mills (2.94).
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