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Opponent Preview: Charlotte

Meet the 49ers... Don’t call them UNC-Charlotte!

Rice v Charlotte Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Charlotte

Mascot: 49ers | School Location: Charlotte, NC | Conference: CUSA

2019 Record: 8-7 (0-0, T-1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: 249

2018 Record: 34-24 (17-13, 4th) | 2018 RPI Rank: 80

2017 Record: 34-24 (9-21, T-3rd) | 2017 RPI Rank: 57


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: BB&T Ballpark, home of the Chicago White Sox AAA-affiliate Charlotte Knights (Charlotte, NC)

Game Time(s): Tuesay, Mar 12 @ 7:00pm

TV: CUSA TV ($... boo)

Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh, GoPack All-Access

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

First, let’s take a look at what was said about Charlotte from our 2019 Season Preview:

Charlotte is a solid program with back-to-back 34-24 campaigns. RS-SR C Harris Yett (.323/.395/.438, 8 2B, 6 HR, 24:23 BB:K), JR OF Todd Elwood (.316/.397/.346, 4 2B, 5 SB), RS-JR OF Drew Ober (.286/.325/.393, 11 2B, 4 HR, 16 SB), RS-SR 1B/OF Dominick Cammarata (.265/.352/.470, 13 2B, 8 HR), and SR 2B Tommy Bullock (.259/.349/.361, 12 2B, 25:30 BB:K) all return to what should be a productive 2019 unit. The 49ers hope that the Pitt CC connection again provides immediate dividends in the form of JR OF Patrick Wheeler (Bullock and Cammarata both came from Pitt CC). Fellow JUCO OFs Carson Johnson and Austin Lynch should content for immediate playing time. JUCO 1B Rafi Vazquez should force his bat into the lineup somehow. JR RHP Matt Brooks (3-7, 5.35 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, .298 OBA) and SR LHP Joey Cooner (3-5, 5.43 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .282 OBA) return two-thirds of the 2018 weekend rotation, but the 49ers will have a big task in replacing staff ace Josh Maciejewski. SR RHP Chase Gooding (4-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .246 OBA) is a prime candidate to join the weekend rotation; unfortunately for Charlotte, if Gooding moves into a starting role, the bullpen will lose all their effective arms from a year ago. Relief innings will be widely available. FR RHP Will Palinkas (a big frame kid with a lot of potential) and JR RHP Ryan Czanstkowski (a transfer from the same JUCO as Johnson) are two arms to keep an eye on.

2019 Projected Record: 29-25 (15-15)

NCAA Tournament Bound?: No

The 49ers are a solid all-around team and should be a middle-of-the-pack Conference USA group this year. I figured they’d be 10-5 right now (accounting for their one rain-out), so they’re a little behind schedule, but not far behind.

The pitching has been better than expected, with FR RHP Bryce McGowan (Cary HS) showing up over expectations and moving into a weekend starter gig. That’s allowed the coaching staff to keep one of their better relief arms (SR RHP Chase Gooding) in the bullpen, which is a big boost for them. If the starting rotation can sustain and the bats can get a little more productivity (a few more walks, a few less strikeouts), this is a team that will do just fine come conference play.

Charlotte pushed Clemson to the brink earlier this season, almost recovering from a 6-0 deficit in losing 7-6 on the road. The teams have played one common opponent thus far this year: Kent State (4-10, RPI 128). NC State beat the Golden Flashes 3-2 in 11 innings, while Charlotte took two-of-three from the Golden Flashes in a weekend series, outscoring Kent State 11-7 over the three games.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: RHP Chase Gooding (SR)


Key Players:

Offense

RF Dominick Cammarata (RS-SR) - .375 BA, .533 OBP, .750 SLG, 32 AB, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 5 R, 9 RBI, 11 BB, 10 K, 0-0 SB. Cammarata spent two years, including a redshirt year, at Tennessee while hardly seeing the field at all, before heading to Pitt CC for a year and ending up at Charlotte. He had a solid year last year, but has busted out so far this year. Cammarata has serious pop in his bat (2 HR this year, 8 last year, and 19 in his one season at Pitt CC), and has collected multiple hits in three of the last five games.

C Harris Yett (RS-SR) - .357 BA, .419 OBP, .714 SLG, 56 AB, 9 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 R, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K, 0-0 SB. Yett was a Johnny Bench Award (best catcher in college baseball) semifinalist last year. Another bat with legit power, Yett also is good at avoiding K’s (although he doesn’t walk much either). Has thrown out 2-of-12 base runners from behind the dish this year.

SS Tommy Bullock (SR) - .269 BA, .400 OBP, .346 SLG, 52 AB, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 9 R, 7 RBI, 7 BB, 6 K, 1-2 SB. Bullock is pretty much picking up right where he left off last year, except with a higher OBP (thanks to getting plunked by 5 pitches already this year). He’s a solid all-around player.

LF Drew Ober (RS-JR) - .304 BA, .328 OBP, .339 SLG, 56 AB, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 11 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K, 4-5 SB. The bearded bro is having a fine year, although his power numbers are down (not that he’s a huge power threat, but he’s been oddly quiet on the extra-base hit totals thus far). He also doesn’t walk... like, ever. He has all of 22 total walks in 586 career plate appearances (3.8 BB%). Heck, he has more career HBP (23) than walks.

3B Josh Haney (FR) - .327 BA, .340 OBP, .367 SLG, 49 AB, 0 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 1 R, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 2-2 SB. The left-handed hitting two-time high school All-State selection from Stanley, NC, is off to a fantastic start to his collegiate career. He has a hit in all but one of the 13 games that he’s started thus far.

Pitching

RHP Chase Gooding (SR) - 0-0, 3 SV, 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .174 OBA, 26.7 K%, 13.3 BB%, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. Gooding, the 49ers closer, will be making his first start of the year (he made 7 starts last year out of 21 total appearances). Control has been a bit of an issue for Gooding this year, as in addition to his 4 BB in 7.0 IP, he’s also hit two batters. He does have good swing-and-miss stuff, though.

RHP Matt Brooks (JR) - 3-0, 1.40 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .183 OBA, 25.3 K%, 8.9 BB%, 19.1 IP, 13 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, 20 K. Brooks has been the ace of the pitching staff, but didn’t start (or even make an appearance) this past weekend against Coppin State. I can’t find anything about an injury, so maybe the staff was holding him out for this one...? He’s an impact arm from the same hometown as former NC State slugger Brett Kinneman (York, PA).

RHP Patrick Szczypinski (SO) - 0-0, 0 SV, 2.53 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .282 OBA, 28.3 K%, 8.7 BB%, 10.2 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 13 K. Szczydeshildpinksi has already matched his inning total from a year ago, but with much better success (1-0, 13.50 ERA, 2.25 WHIP in 2018). He’s throwing a lot more strikes this year, and that’s the reason for the increased production - and innings.

RHP Ryan Czanstkowski (JR) - 0-1, 1 SV, 3.24 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .276 OBA, 26.5 K%, 8.8 BB%, 8.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. Charlotte, you’re really testing my spelling abilities here... Czanstkowski is a JUCO transfer who has found some success early on this year, but with most of that success coming against the two weakest teams he’s faced. In his last outing against Coppin State, he earned the save striking out six over 2.1 scoreless innings. He’s not a strikeout pitcher, though - he averaged 7.01 K/9 in JUCO ball last year.


Quick! Fun Facts!

This will be the fourth time in the last five years that the two teams have played at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte. NC State has won all three of the previous meetings between the two schools at the venue.

NC State is 28-9 all-time versus Charlotte, including winning the lone meeting last year, 9-6.

Charlotte loves to double-dip from the JUCO ranks, taking former (and obviously current) teammates from Pitt CC, Redlands CC, and Connors State CC.

The Wolfpack will have several players playing back in/near their high school stomping grounds of Charlotte. JR OF Lawson McArthur (South Mecklenburg HS), JR RHP John Creel (Lake Norman Charter), SO LHP Nick Swiney (Hough HS), and JR SS Will Wilson (Kings Mountain, NC) all played prep ball in or just outside the Charlotte area.


Prediction

SO LHP Canaan Silver, who was pulled from his Saturday start vs Pittsburgh after 0.2 IP and just 22 pitches (and 3 runs - unearned - allowed), will get the start on the mound for the Wolfpack. Despite the quick hook in his last outing, Silver has put up a good line on the season (1-0, 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 10 K), and gives the Pack a solid starter in this match-up. It wouldn’t be surprising, though, if this was a short outing (less than three innings) for Silver. Still, that’s a nice advantage to have in a midweek starter.

Gooding is a very... err... good pitcher with the ability to shut down bats in spurts. Charlotte also has their top weekend arm (Brooks) at its disposal, as well as two of their top relievers (the dudes with the hard-to-spell names); they should have the arms available to keep this game close.

The depth of the NC State lineup makes the difference in this one.

Outcome: NC State squeaks out another close win, 5-3.