Photo credit: Charlotte Baseball Twitter
Niners bounce back and take three of four from the Cardinals
After dropping a chilly home opener on Friday night, Charlotte looked to have their hands full with a scrappy Ball State group. One that was able to work around 15 walks as Charlotte just couldn’t find the big hit on Friday night. That all changed Saturday afternoon when Kaden Hopson launched a three-run bomb over the trees in right to extend the Niner lead with a punctuating bat flip. Charlotte never looked back and went on to complete a 37-run weekend, taking the series from the Cardinals.
What went right? What went wrong?
Charlotte led the country in walks a year ago, and it’s safe to say they’ll contend for the top spot again. Ball State issued 50 free passes alongside 8 hit-by-pitches which kept the basepaths busy all weekend. Head Coach Robert Woodard pointed out in his pre-season press conference that they want to be a program that “trains swing decisions and plate discipline”. That seemed to be the focus as Charlotte hitters got deep into counts and were extremely patient in the box. Look for this trend to continue throughout the rest of the season.
At times the Charlotte pitching staff gave up some bigger innings. A few 3 spots and a 5 spot seemed like they would give Ball State the needed momentum to run away with a win, however added pitching depth in the pen gave Charlotte the ability to stop the bleeding. Pitching depth is something so highly sought after in college baseball, when you can handle a four game weekend against good hitters, it’s a good sign moving forward.
Charlotte will take a 3-1 record down to Clemson, South Carolina for another high quality non-conference matchup. Clemson hosted Binghamton to open the season and swept the Bearcats while outscoring them 33 to 6.