Charlotte scored three early runs and behind eight strong innings from senior starter John Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio), the 49ers took a 4-2 victory over Butler in game one of a doubleheader Saturday at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium in Atlantic 10 Conference action. Charlotte has won the first two games to take the series, and four in a row overall, to sit at 28-19, 12-5 in conference. Butler fell to 23-20 overall, 10-7 in league play.
In a pregame ceremony, the 49ers honored the 1993 team ont he 20th anniversary of the program's first conference tournament title and NCAA Regional appearance.
The 49ers drew three walks in the first, the last coming with the bases loaded for an RBI to redshirt senior Tony Montalbano (New Orleans, La. / Bossier Parish HS) and a 1-0 Charlotte lead.
The 49ers got two more runs in the third on four hits, including back-to-back RBI singles from junior first baseman Grant Dunnegan (Clearwater, Kan. / Hutchinson CC) and redshirt senior outfielder J.J. Elseser (Brunswick, Ga.) in the frame as the Niners extended the lead to 3-0.
That score held until the Bulldogs scored their first run of the day in the top of the seventh after three errors led to an unearned run against Hamilton in the frame.
The Niners got the run back in the bottom half on three hits, the last an RBI single from third baseman Derek Gallello (Fredericksburg, Va. / Riverbend HS) to push the lead back out to three runs.
The Bulldogs got a run in the ninth after Hamilton gave up a leadoff walk before being lifted for the bullpen. Butler got two two-out hits to score the run, but reliever Jason Harris (Austin, Tex. / Barton County CC) came in to retire one batter and get his first career save.
Hamilton went eight innings, tying his career-long outing. He struck out five and gave up two runs, one of them unearned. He scattered four hits and walked three, recording five strikeouts for the win (4-3).
The loss went to Butler starting pitcher Kyle Kramp, dropping him to 7-3. He lasted 4.1 innings, allowing eight hits and four walks for three earned runs. He struck out a pair of batters.
Charlotte out hit Butler 12-6, with four different 49ers collecting two hits each. Four different 49ers had an RBI in a balanced effort.
NOTES: All of Charlotte’s 12 conference wins have come when scoring first in the game… Charlotte has outscored conference opponents 12-5 in the first inning of those 17 games… Charlotte is 10-0 when scoring four or more runs in conference games… The 49ers improve to 25-9 in day games… Hamilton has won his last two starts, both in conference games.
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