Charlotte baseball starts a six-game road swing Wednesday night in a contest versus Duke, to be played at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The contest, which will be the first for the 49ers in the facility, starts at 6 p.m. Duke is providing live video of the contest, while Charlotte will provide a live audio feed from Durham.
Charlotte is 1-4 against the Blue Devils, dropping the last four in the series. The two teams played one another three time in the 1980s and renewed appearance on the schedule in 2011.
Charlotte swept its four-game weekend series at home over Siena. The 49ers are 14-5 overall, including a 13-3 home mark. This contest is just the fourth away from Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium this season. The 49ers are 1-2 on the road and have posted a 1-3 mark against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, with a split with Wake Forest, a home loss to now-ranked Virginia Tech and a road loss at No. 10 North Carolina State. The Niners have two ACC games on the schedule remaining... home to N.C. State on April 16 and at North Carolina in Chapel Hill on April 24.
The Blue Devils enter Wednesday at 10-10 overall, taking two of three at previously ranked Miami two weeks ago before getting swept last weekend to Virginia Tech, which earned a number-24 ranking after the series. Duke is 6-7 at home, either on campus or the DBAP.
Senior Wes Hatley (Norwood, N.C. / South Stanly HS) is scheduled to make his first start of the season against Duke. Hatley has appeared in five contests for Charlotte, grabbing a pair of saves. Opponents have just one hit off of him in 3.1 innings this season. The Blue Devils have not yet named a starting pitcher.
The offense scored 35 runs in the series against Siena. Junior Justin Seager (Kannapolis, N.C. / Northwest Cabarrus HS) was 9-for-14 (.643) and scored seven runs over the weekend. He was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week for his output. He delivered the walk-off double in the ninth for the 7-6 Friday night win. His first hit in a Saturday doubleheader was a home run and he finished the Sunday game 3-for-3. He drove in five, stole his first base and walked three times in the weekend. He posted a .929 slugging percentage and a .722 on-base percentage for the four games. For the season, Seager leads the team in batting average (.437), runs scored (21) and RBI (21) and has posted 10 doubles, tied for seventh-most in Division I.
Sophomore second baseman Brad Elwood (Indian Trail, N.C. / Piedmont HS) hit his first career home run in the Sunday's 14-4 win over the Saints. He then followed with his second career round tripper later that afternoon. He added a double and a single for 11 total bases in the game. It was the first two-homer game for Charlotte since April 20, 2012 and the first time a Charlotte batter collected that many total bases since May 1, 2010. Elwood is second at Charlotte in batting average, behind Seager, at .408 for the season. He was rated the sixth-toughest player to strike out in the NCAA as of Monday's statistics posting. He has fanned just twice in 76 at bats this season.
Charlotte's bullpen has been stellar for the 49ers this season, taking eight of the team's 14 wins so far as the Niners have come back to win six times in 2013. Hunter May (Cornelius, N.C. / Pitt CC) is 5-0, tied for second in the country in wins, with a 1.90 earned run average. He has appeared in 12 of Charlotte's 19 games, posting an appearance rate of .632, the 10th-highest in the country.
Charlotte will continue the road swing as it opens Atlantic 10 Conference play at Pitt Field over the weekend in a three-game series with Richmond. Both the 49ers and Spiders sit atop the league standings page currently at 14-5 for the season. The series starts at 3 p.m. Friday, with a 2 p.m. start scheduled for Saturday and a Sunday 1 p.m. series finale.
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