First Look at the 2021 Charlotte Baseball Schedule

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The last time we saw the 49ers Baseball team on the field, Colby Bruce was throwing a 1-2-3 9th inning and Charlotte was celebrating a 9-8 victory over 9th ranked NC State at Doak Field in Raleigh.  That was March 10, 2020. The world changed in the following days and the remaining 2020 College Baseball season was canceled.

Over 11 months later, we are finally set to see the 49ers take the field again. After what seems like the longest offseason in sports history, the 2021 Niners are set to take the field February 19 vs Morehead State.  To get you ready for the 2021 season, we have a series of blogs that will set us up for the 2021 campaign.

We will start with a schedule breakdown to take a look at the teams that the Niners will face this season.  2021 will look very different schedule-wise for many teams throughout the country.  Different conferences are going with different formats to try to get as many games in safely. Conference USA has decided to split into divisional play with Charlotte playing in the East Division along with FAU, ODU, FIU, WKU, & Marshall. The West Division of C-USA will include USM, LT, Rice, MTSU, UTSA, and UAB. Divisional play was aimed at limiting the travel throughout the league. Charlotte will play home and home series with ODU, its closest opponent in conference. Charlotte will play interdivisional opponents Rice and UTSA from the West Division.

Conference USA also decided to go from 10 – 3 game weekend series’ to 8- 4 game weekend series’ with the Saturday games being 7 inning double headers. This scheduling change will result in having fewer mid-week games during the conference season, but also opened up 2 weekends to add regional out of conference series’. It all adds up to a 56 game schedule for the Niners with high quality regional opponents and fewer long road trips in conference play.

In the non-conference weekends, the Niners will host Morehead State, William & Mary, WCU, College of Charleston, and UNCW. The Niners will travel to ECU for a 3 game series. Mid-weeks schedule include UNCG, Tennessee, Wake Forest, App State, & North Carolina.

The Conference USA Tournament will be hosted by Louisiana Tech in their new ballpark May 26-30.

As we have learned from the past several months in the sports world involving COVID, all of these games are tentative and subject to change. Below are a brief look at the 49ers opponents in 2021:

FEBRUARY 19-21:  Morehead State

  • CONFERENCE: Ohio Valley Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  86 (40-21);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 197 (5-10)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 6-1
  • Picked to finish 9th in the OVC
  • Lost in the OVC Championship Game in 2019 as the 3 seed.
  • Head Coach Mik Aoki is in his 2nd season at Morehead State, after serving as HC at Notre Dame for the previous 9 seasons. Aoki was also the HC at Boston College (2007-2010) and Columbia (1999-2003) prior to leading Notre Dame. Aoki attended Davidson College, graduating in 1990.
  • DH Jon Burghardt and 3B Stephen Hill were named to the Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference team.

FEBRUARY 26-28:  William & Mary

  • CONFERENCE: Colonial Athletic Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  85 (33-22);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 158 (8-9)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 2-5
  • Picked to finish 5th in the South Division of the CAA by D1 Baseball
  • Brian Murphy is entering his 8th year as head coach at W&M (175-178). He has led W&M to an NCAA Regional in 2016 and was CAA Coach of the Year in 2014.
  • Jack Cone RHP/ OF & Catcher Matthew Trehub were named CAA Pre-season All Conference.
  • W&M RHP Jacob Haney is the son of 49er All-Time Great Chris Haney.

MARCH 2:  at UNC Greensboro (APRIL 6 at Charlotte)

  • CONFERENCE: Southern Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  88 (34-20);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 72 (12-5)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 13-8
  • Picked to finish 3rd in the SoCon
  • Head Coach Billy Godwin is in his 2nd season as HC at UNCG (12-5).  Prior to UNCG Godwin had a successful run as ECU’s HC from 2005-2014. Prior to UNCG he was working for the New York Yankees in scouting.
  • RHP Austin Koehn, 3B Zack Budzik, and OF Greg Hardison were named to SoCon Preseason All Conference Team.
  • Niners lost at Greensboro last season 6-4.

MARCH 5-7:  Western Carolina

  • CONFERENCE: Southern Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  207 (20-33);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 252 (8-8)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 6-10
  • Picked to finish 5th in the SoCon by the Coaches.
  • Catcher Luke Robinson, OF Justice Bigbie, and RHP Zach Franklin were selected to the SoCon Preseason All Conference Team.
  • The Niners last played Western Carolina in 2010.
  • Western Carolina HC Bobby Moranda is the All-Time Winningest HC in school history with 352 Wins. He is in his 13th season at WCU (352-340-2).

MARCH 9:  Tennessee 

  • CONFERENCE: Southeastern Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  13 (40-21);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 93 (15-2)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 1-4
  • Picked to finish 3rd in the SEC Eastern Division and 2B Max Ferguson was named to Preseason All SEC Team. 
  • Tennessee is ranked #19 in the D1 Baseball Preseason poll and infielder Max Ferguson was named to the Perfect Game 2nd Team All American.
  • They are ranked #16 in the USA Today Preseason Poll. 2B Max Ferguson, 3B Jake Rucker, and RHP Jackson Leath were named preseason All Americans by Baseball America.
  • Tennessee HC Tony Vitello is in his 4th season as HC and is 85-50 with one NCAA Appearance in 2019.
  • The Niners lost at Tennessee 8-2 in 2020. First meeting was in the 1993 NCAA Tournament.

MARCH 12-14:  at East Carolina

  • CONFERENCE: American Athletic Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  6 (47-18);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 5 (13-4)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 5-29
  • ECU was voted the preseason favorite to win the AAC by the Coaches. They were ranked 25th by D1 Baseball & 16th by Collegiate Baseball in Preseason polls.
  • ECU’s HC Cliff Godwin is entering his 7th season with the Pirates and has led them to 4 NCAA’s and two Super Regional during his six seasons.
  • LHP Jake Kuchmaner, 2B Connor Norby, OF Thomas Francisco & OF Bryson Worrell were named to the AAC Preseason All Conference Team.
  • Niners are 3-3 in the last 2 weekends they have played ECU in Greenville.

MARCH 16:  at Wake Forest

  • CONFERENCE: Atlantic Coast Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  54 (31-26);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 172 (10-8)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS:  30-43
  • Picked to Finish 5th in the ACC Atlantic Division.
  • 1B Bobby Seymour was 2019 ACC Player of the Year. Seymour and RHP Ryan Cusick were named Pre-season All-Americans by Baseball America.
  • Projected to be a Regional Team by D1 Baseball
  • WF Head Coach Tom Walter is in his 12th season at Wake (305-284).

MARCH 19-21:  College of Charleston 

  • CONFERENCE: Colonial Athletic Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  92 (36-21);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 51 (12-2)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 5-4
  • Picked to finish 2nd in CAA South Division
  • 1B Ari Sechopoulos & RHP Caswell Smith were named to Preseason All Conference Team. OF Donald Hansis was Honorable Mention.
  • Head Coach Chad Holbrook is entering his 4th season as HC at College of Charleston (84-42).  Prior to coming to College of Charleston, Holbrook was Head Coach at South Carolina for 5 seasons.  He served as an Assistant to Ray Tanner at SC prior to becoming HC and was also an assistant at North Carolina.

MARCH 23:  App State / APRIL 20: at App State

  • CONFERENCE: Sun Belt Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  189 (22-31);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 62 (11-6)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 13-9-1
  • Picked to finish 5th in the Sun Belt East Division 
  • 2B Luke Drumheller was picked Preseason All Conference.
  • Head Coach Kermit Smith is entering his 5th season as HC at App State (70-109)
  • The Niners last played App State in 2006.

MARCH 26-28:  at WESTERN KENTUCKY

  • CONFERENCE: Conference USA
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  161 (26-29-1);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 96 (10-6)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 5-5-1
  • Picked to finish 4th in C-USA East Division
  • DH Davis Sims was elected to the Preseason All Conference Team and also named to the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List. He is the brother of 49er Pitcher Hale Sims. 
  • Head Coach John Pawlowski is entering his 6th season as HC at WKU (97-135-1). Previously was the HC at Auburn and the College of Charleston.

APRIL 2-4:  FLORIDA ATLANTIC

  • CONFERENCE: Conference USA
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  37 (44-21);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 30 (10-6)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 4-16
  • Picked to finish 1st in C-USA East Division
  • RF Bobby Morgensen and LF/RP Mitchell Hartigan were named ot C-USA preseason all conference team.
  • Head Coach John McCormack is entering his 13th season as HC at FAU (411-249-2). Has been on the FAU staff for the past 30 seasons.  As a HC  he has led FAU t o5 Regional Appearances and was named 2010 Sun Belt Coach aof the Year and 2019 C-USA Coach of the Year. He has won the C-USA Championship in 2016 and 2019.

APRIL 9-11:  at FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

  • CONFERENCE: Conference USA
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  171 (23-32);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 175 (10-5)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 12-11
  • Picked to finish 3rd in C-USA East Division.
  • 2B Derek Cartaya was named to the C-USA Preseason All Conference Team.
  • Head Coach Mervyl Melendez is entering his 5th season as HC at FIU (90-92)
  • Since re-joining C-USA, Charlotte has won 4 of the 6 series vs FIU.

APRIL 13:  at North Carolina

  • CONFERENCE: Atlantic Coast Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  14 (46-19);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 68 (12-7)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS:  7-34-1
  • Picked to Finish 5th in the ACC Coastal Division
  • Head Coach Scott Forbes is entering his 1st season as HC at UNC and 2021 will be his 20th season on staff in Chapel Hill. Forbes takes over for long time UNC HC Mike Fox who retired this past summer.
  • In 2019, with Robert Woodard as Pitching Coach, North Carolina won the ACC Tournament, won the Chapel Hill Regional, and advanced to host a Super Regional. 

APRIL 16-18:  UTSA

  • CONFERENCE: Conference USA
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  134 (28-30);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 106 (10-7)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 8-9
  • Picked to finish 5th in the C-USA West Division.
  • CF Dylan Rock and RHP Arturo Guajardo are listed as Top 20 Draft Prospects for 2021 by D1 Baseball in C-USA
  • Head Coach Pat Hallmark is entering his 2nd season as HC at UTSA (10-7). He was previously HC at Incarnate Word where he won 2019 Southland Conference Coach of the Year. Prior to that he served as an Assistant at Missouri and Rice.

APRIL 23-25:  ODU/ APRIL 30-May 2 at ODU

  • CONFERENCE: Conference USA
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  80 (35-21);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 159 (12-4)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 36-45
  • Picked to finish 2nd in C-USA East
  • RHP Hunter Gregory was name to C-USA Preseason All-Conference team.
  • Head Coach Chris Finwood is entering his 10th season as HC at ODU (243-220)
  • The two teams will play 8 times over a 10-day period.
  • Charlotte has won the last 2 series’ vs ODU.

MAY 7-9: MARSHALL

  • CONFERENCE: Conference USA
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  178 (29-28);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 285 (5-10-1)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 11-8
  • Picked to finish 6th in the C-USA East Division.
  • RHP Brady Choban is listed as a Top 20 Draft Prospect for 2021 by D1 Baseball for C-USA.
  • Head Coach Jeff Waggoner is entering his 15th season as HC at Marshall (314-409-2). He was named C-USA Coach of the Year in 2016.

MAY 14-16: at RICE

  • CONFERENCE: Conference USA
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  140 (26-33);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 211 (2-14)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 5-10
  • Picked to finish 3rd in C-USA West
  • 3B Braden Comeaux was name to C-USA Preseason All-Conference team and named to the Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List.
  • Head Coach Matt Bragga is entering his 3rd season as HC at Rice  (28-47) after taking over for long time Coach Wayne Graham. Prior to Rice he was HC at Tennessee Tech where he was named OVC Coach of the Year 4 times.
  • Charlotte has won the last 2 series vs Rice.

MAY 20-22:  UNC Wilmington

  • CONFERENCE: Colonial Athletic Conference
  • 2019 RPI/ RECORD:  148 (32-31);    2020 RPI/ RECORD: 74 (11-5)
  • 49ers ALL TIME RECORD VS: 12-11
  • Picked to finish 1st in the South Division of the CAA 
  • RHP Landen Roupp was picked Preseason CAA Player of the Year. INF Cole Weiss, OF Noah Bridges, and RHP Adam Smith were named to the CAA Preseason All-Conference team.
  • Head Coach Randy Hood is entering his 2nd season as HC at UNCW (11-5) and is serving in his 20th season on the UNCW staff.
  • Robert Woodard was the Pitching Coach on the UNCW staff with Coach Hood in 2013.

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