Niner Nuggets: Week 3

The Niners went 1-3 on the week dropping a back and forth mid-week match-up at UNCG, and then taking one of 3 games this weekend against Western Carolina.

Top Stories

  • The Niners got to WCU ace Zebby Matthews (SoCon Pitcher of the Week) for 7 Runs on 9 Hits on Friday in Game 1 of the weekend series. The Niners held the Catamounts to 3 runs and picked up a victory.
  • An unwanted theme that has recurred in all 3 of the 49ers losses in the young season has been mistakes leading to unearned runs. The Niners have played well defensively this season, as only Rice has fewer errors among C-USA teams that have played for 3 weeks. The few Niners errors this week unfortunately led to 9 unearned runs being allowed. Five of those were scored in WCU’s big inning on Sunday, and those runs proved to be the deciding runs in the game. It is also very important to note that 2 of the key “errors” credited to the Niners this week were very controversial calls. Bad calls happen and this weekend it seemed to snowball into a big inning. Coach Woodard mentioned in postgame that “We’ve got to do a better job of limiting the damage. You get 27 outs. If we give our opponents 28-30 outs, it makes the game more challenging.” That goes to playing clean defensively and limiting the walks/HBPs. 
  • David McCabe has been one of the most explosive hitters for the 49ers in the first 3 weeks of the season. He leads the 49ers in HR (5) and is slugging .882 on the year. McCabe left Friday’s game with an apparent thumb injury and missed the final 2 games of the series. The Niners offense seemed different without Big Maple in the middle of the line-up and scored a season low 2 runs on Saturday. The bats bounced back with % runs on Sunday, but it is clear that McCabe is a key cog in the 49ers offense. WE hope to dee him back in the line-up soon.
  • The 49ers announced on Monday that Charlotte will be hosting College of Charleston Uptown and Truist Field, Home of the Charlotte Knights.  The game will be game 2 of the weekend series and is scheduled for 1:30 on Saturday March 20th. The stadium will allow for 30% capacity, which is roughly 3000 tickets. You can get your tickets at this lnk:  https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/Buy.asp?EventID=316347#.YEeCpWhKguV

Top Performers

  • Aaron McKeithan (.416, HR, 3 RBI)- Mac hasn’t grabbed headlines but he has been a solid addition to the club. Behind the plate he has been a brick wall and he has thrown out 3 base runners attempting to steal. This was an area of emphasis for the team heading into last offseason. At the plate, he’s slashing .364/.512/.545. That includes a team leading 5 HBPs. Catchers are tough. 
  • Austin Knight (.294, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 SB)- We have been spoiled by a couple of  multi-homer weeks for Knight, but he put up another solid week in Week 3. After batting nearly .300 on the week, his average dropped to .400 on the season!! Currently leading the 49ers in Doubles (5), RBI (17), and stolen bases (5)
  • Bryce McGowan (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9 K) -Bryce pitched well this weekend putting up a career high 9 Ks vs WCU.
  • Matt Brooks (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K)- Another solid outing for Matt Brooks striking out 7 in 5 IP.

Conference USA Watch (As of 3/8/2021)

  • WKU (4-6) – Lost series at Tulane 2-1
  • #20 FAU (8-2) – Beat #6 Florida, Split 2 games v FGCU
  • FIU (4-6) – Swept by Indiana State in 3 games
  • UTSA (5-2) – Won series vs UT Arlington 3-1
  • ODU (8-3) – Beat #17 ECU, Won series over Northeastern 2-1
  • Rice (4-6) – Beat Prairie View A&M, Went 1-2 in Shriners Classic
  • MTSU (7-3) – Won series at South Alabama 2-1
  • Marshall (1-2)- Lost series to Morehead St 1-2
  • USM (6-5) – Lost to #2 Miss St, Won series over Jacksonville State 2-1
  • UAB (6-4) – Lost series to Kennesaw St 1-2
  • Louisiana Tech (7-3) – Lost at UL-Lafayette, Swept McNeese St in 3 games

Tracking the Enemy – Non-conference opponents (As of 3/8)

  • Morehead State (4-6) – Beat #1 Louisville, Won series over Marshall 2-1
  • William & Mary (1-5) – Beat George Mason, Lost 2 games to Central Michigan
  • UNCG (9-2) – Beat Charlotte, Swept Elon in 3 games.
  • WCU (7-4)- Took 2 of 3 at Charlotte
  • #15 Tennessee (11-2) – Beat Austin Peay, Swept Georgia State in 3 games
  • #14 ECU (9-2) – Lost to ODU, Swept App State 3 games
  • Wake Forest (3-4) – DNP
  • College of Charleston (3-7) – Lost series vs Alabama 1-2
  • App St (6-5) – Beat NC A&T, Swept at ECU in 3 games
  • UNC-CH (7-3) – Lost series to VT 1-2
  • UNCW (7-3) – Split 4 games series with Cincinnati

RPI Watch: Charlotte 82, C-USA 12 – It’s still too early to pay too much attention to this. It’s probably not worth getting too invested until conference play begins. While the Niners are 7-3 in OOC play, C-USA is 67-45.

Up next: The Niners are heading into a week where they will face two nationally ranked teams. On Tuesday the Niners will host #15 Tennessee at the Hayes. The Vols are 11-2 on the season and come to Charlotte after sweeping Georgia State this past weekend.  The game will be televised on CUSA-TV at 4:00.  This weekend, the Niners will travel to #14 East Carolina for a 3 game series. ECU is 9-2 coming off a series sweep of App State this past weekend. The series will be televised on ecupirates.com on Friday, and ESPN+ on Saturday/ Sunday.

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