Charlotte baseball stays alive with 9-2 win over Lipscomb in elimination game
CLEMSON, S.C. -- A five-run fourth inning put the Charlotte 49ers baseball team in front and the Niners never looked back in a 9-2 victory over Lipscomb on Saturday afternoon (June 3) in the first elimination game of the Clemson Regional.
Lipscomb (36-26) scored first in the third inning but Charlotte (35-27) held the Bisons off the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest, outhitting them 14-6 in the process.
It’s the sixth win in the last two weeks for the 49ers where a loss would result in the season coming to an end, after playing the final five games of the Conference USA Tournament with their backs against the wall.
Wyatt Hudepohl was on fire pitching for the Green and White and notched his sixth game this season with double-digit strikeouts after punching out 11 on Saturday. He threw the first eight innings and gave up the two runs on the six hits while only issuing one walk on a career-high 129 pitches in the victory. It was Hudepohl’s second quality start in a row after he held Dallas Baptist to just two runs through six innings in the C-USA Championship game on Sunday and represents his 12th QS of the season.
The Niners made some noise offensively as well, hitting three home runs as a team to cross the century mark in home runs for just the second time in program history. Eli Weisner hit the first one with his third pinch-hit homer of the season to put CLT in front in the fourth and Jack Dragum took one over the fence in straight-away center shortly after for some insurance. Charlotte’s third home run of the day came in the seventh inning when Brandon Stahlman got a hold of one and sent it deep over the wall in right, nearly clearing the indoor batting cages beyond the right-field fence for home run number 101 on the year.
Dragum’s and Stahlman’s home runs were each part of two-hit games for the duo where they each drove in a pair while Weisner’s was his only hit of the day and was a three-run shot. Jake Cunningham and Austin Knight also had a pair of hits, with Cunningham bringing a run in on a sacrifice fly, and Blake Jackson led the Green and White with three singles in the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both starting pitchers had little trouble getting through the first two innings until Lipscomb opened the scoring in the third. The Bisons hit a single with one out and then put a pair in scoring position with a two-out double. The next batter up also doubled two pitches later, bringing both of the runners home.
Charlotte had runners on the corners in the bottom of the frame but couldn’t get onto the scoreboard until the fourth. CLT’s first two batters of the inning went down in order before Hopson was hit by a pitch. Butcher found the grass in left field for a two-out hit that put a pair on and Weisner was inserted into the lineup as a pinch hitter.
Weisner did was he was supposed to do and took one the other way that was pushed out of the stadium by a stiff wind blowing out to right-center for the three-run home run. Jackson was up next and legged out an infield single before Dragum took the very next pitch of the game off the batter’s eye in center to make it 5-2.
Charlotte added to its lead with another crooked number in the seventh, bringing three around to open the game up a bit more. Jackson started the inning off with yet another single and stole second. He moved up to third on a wild pitch with one out and Cam Fisher reached on a walk, setting up Fisher stealing second to get a pair in scoring position.
Both runners moved up 90 feet, with Jackson scoring, on a deep fly ball to right from Cunningham for the sac fly. Fisher then came home on another wild pitch and then Stahlman left the yard deep to right.
The Niners weren’t done yet and scored one more in the eighth, with Stahlman picking up his second RBI of the game. Fisher worked another walk with two outs and took third on a single down the line in left by Cunningham, setting up the RBI-single from Stahlman.
Dearman came on to relieve Hudepohl for the ninth inning and had little issue taking care of the Bisons to close it out, getting all three batters he faced.
Charlotte advances to Sunday (June 4) and will play another elimination game at noon against the loser of Saturday night’s matchup between Clemson and Tennessee. The winner of Sunday’s noon game will also play again later tomorrow at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Clemson/Tennessee matchup.
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