Week 1: Niner Nuggets

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We are going to try a little something new this year to make more use of this blog. Every week we will provide you a wrap of the week and a few nuggets about the team. We will also track Conference USA and how our non-conference opponents are doing.

The Niners completed a 3 game sweep of Morehead State to open up the 2021 season. Charlotte only trailed for 1/2 an inning in the 1st inning of game 2 on Saturday. They quickly answered in the bottom half of the 1st and never looked back. .There were smiles all around as the Niners starting pitching did well, the bullpen did well, and the offense had multiple contributors all weekend. Charlotte also played pretty clean defensively.

Top Performers

  • Craig Keuchel – The Texan has taken to wearing leather work gloves at the plate. That’s exactly what Craig did this past weekend: work. His 3 HRs, 6 RBI, and 2.032 OPS have the junior off to a running start.
  • Austin Knight – There was a lot of buzz coming into the season around the transfer from Tennessee. He did not disappoint in his Niner debut. Three doubles, a pair of HRs (including a grand slam), and 8 RBI make this one of the best debuts in recent memory.
  • Dominic Pilolli- The outfield picked up where he left off last season, picking up 5 hits including a Homer and a double, with 4 RBI on the weekend.
  • David McCabe- Big Maple got into the mix, blasting his much anticipated 1st HR as a 49er, a shot that left the bat at 114 mph. He also added a double and 4 RBI on the weekend.
  • Rafi Vazquez- The senior put up the first 49er HR of the 2021 season, and added a double over the weekend.
  • Andrew Lindsey- The Opening Day starter did not disappoint, throwing 6 innings of scoreless, 1 hit ball, striking out six and walking none. He had a perfect game through 5 innings. He put up a big number on the radar gun, hitting 95 mph
  • Christian Lothes- The freshman took a little bit to get settled, allowing 3 runs over the 1st 3 innings, but settled in to complete a nice 5 inning start. He allowed only the 3 runs and struck out 8 while hitting 94 on the gun.
  • Bryce McGowan- McGowan put together a nice start, allowing only 1 hit over 4 scoreless innings. Seven of the 12 outs he recorded were Ks while hitting a team high 97 on the radar gun.
  • Niners bullpen- Eleven pitchers were used out of the bullpen this past weekend for the Niners. Kolton Sherbenske was used twice and did not allow a hit or a run in his 3.1 IP, striking out five. In his first appearance at the Hayes since 2019, Matt Brooks struck out five of the six batters he faced in 2 innings of relief. Gus Hughes and Ryan Czanstkowski both struck out the side in their 1 IP each, while Jackson Boss, Nick Turnbull, Casey Bargo, & Spencer Giesting did not allow a run in their time on the mound. Sam Grace was put in for the only Save opportunity of the weekend and converted with a scoreless 9th on Sunday.

National Recognition

  • Craig Keuchel and Andrew Lindsey listed among Top Performers from Friday by D1 Baseball.
  • Austin Knight and Dominic Pilolli listed among Top Performers from Saturday by D1 Baseball.
  • Bryce McGowan listed among Top Performers from Sunday by D1 Baseball.
  • Charlotte is receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Poll.

Conference USA Watch (As of 2/22)

  • Western Kentucky (1-2) – Lost series 1-2 to North Dakota State
  • Florida Atlantic (2-1) – Won series 2-1 over #24 UCF
  • Florida International (2-1) – Won series 2-1 over UIC
  • Old Dominion (2-0) – Swept 2 games from Norfolk State
  • Marshall (0-0)– DNP
  • UTSA (0-0) – DNP
  • Rice (2-1) – Won series 2-1 over Houston Baptist
  • Southern Miss (2-1)– Won series 2-1 over Northwestern State
  • Louisiana Tech (1-1) – Beat Air Force, Lost to #11 LSU
  • UAB (2-1) – Won series 2-1 over Valparaiso
  • MTSU (2-1) Won series 2-1 over Oakland

Tracking the Enemy– A look at how our non-conference opponents are faring. (As of 2/22)

  • Morehead State (0-3) – Swept by CHARLOTTE
  • William & Mary (0-0) – DNP
  • UNC Greensboro (2-1) – Won series 2-1 over Elon.
  • Western Carolina (4-0) – Swept 4 games over Towson
  • Tennessee (3-0) – Swept Georgia Southern.
  • East Carolina (3-0) – Swept Rhode Island
  • Wake Forest (2-1)- Won series 2-1 over Northeastern
  • College of Charleston (2-1) Won series 2-1 over NC A&T
  • Appalachian State (2-1) – Won series 2-1 over Winthrop
  • North Carolina (3-0) – Swept James Madison
  • UNC Wilmington (3-0) – Swept VCU

RPI Watch: Charlotte 87; C-USA 15 – We know, it is WAY too early to be looking at the RPI, but we are just going to mention it here each week. The Niners are 3-0 overall and sit tied with several at 87th. Conference USA is 22-12 as a conference, good enough for 15th overall. All this according to Warren Nolan as of 2/24.

Up next: The Niners will host William & Mary this upcoming weekend (Saturday DH starting at 3:00, Sunday at 1:00.)

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