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Opponent Preview: Charlotte

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Meet the 49ers... A team just trying to get to conference play

St. Louis v Charlotte A-10 baseball championship John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Charlotte

Mascot: Frantic Gold Seekers | School Location: Charlotte, NC | Conference: CUSA

2020 Record: 8-8 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 186

2019 Record: 21-31-1 (11-18-1, 11th) | 2019 RPI Rank: 215

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


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 6:00 pm

TV: ACCNX/WatchESPN (Tuesday)

Radio: TuneIn App, GoPack (Tuesday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

And we’re on to the back half of the 16 non-conference opponents that NC State will face this year. We’re also on to the first - and only - week with two mid-week games.

First off, just let me just say that Charlotte AD Mike Hill really wanted first-year head coach Robert Woodard to have as shitty of a start to the month of March as possible. In defense of Hill, Woodard is a former UNC player and assistant coach, so that’s fair. Can’t blame him.

Culminating with NC State, this is how Charlotte’s five game stretch from March 2nd to March 10th looks like:

  • @ Coastal Carolina (6-15 L)
  • vs East Carolina (4-14 L)
  • vs East Carolina (5-15 L)
  • vs East Carolina (1-4 L)
  • @ NC State

I mean, kudos for the “anyone, anywhere” approach, but at this point against this (albeit brief) schedule and with those results (so far), the 49ers are looking more like the Black Knight.

Okay, so aside from the last week, how is this team? Well, this was expected to be a rebuilding year as the team transitions after the retirement of long-time coach Loren Hibbs. For the first time in 27 years, Charlotte has a new coach - and they had to go get one from Chapel Hill!?! Lame.

So far, the weakness of this team has been pitching... but that’s also been dramatically skewed because of the last few games when they’ve gotten hammered. The hitting has been okay, but is lacking power - they only have two guys with slugging percentages over .368, and are slashing just .261/.374/.344 as a team. Typically teams make up for a lack of power by being more aggressive on the bases, and Charlotte has certainly tried that... but not been successful with it (14-of-22 on stolen base attempts).


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: TBA


Key Players (gonna do this a little different):

The One Hitter You Need To Know

LF Dominic Pilolli (FR) - .387/.472/.548, 62 AB, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 12 R, 10 RBI, 9 BB, 10 K, 2-3 SB. The left-handed hitter has been the 49ers best and most consistent hitter all year.

Dangerous Danny With The Bat

C/RF Craig Keuchel (JR) - .233/.324/.483, 60 AB, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 R, 15 RBI, 7 BB, 14 K, 3-3 SB. There are certainly better all-around hitters for Charlotte, but on a team lacking power, it’s necessary to mention the dude who has 50% of the team’s home runs on the year. Oh, and if the name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s apparently a distant cousin of Dallas Keuchel.

The One Pitcher You Need To Know

RHP Colby Bruce (SR) - 0-0, 2 SV, 2.40 ERA/0.80 WHIP/.179 OBA, 15.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 18 K. Since we have no idea who they’ll start, let’s just talk about the 49ers closer who has been pretty fantastic this year. Former high school teammate of Lawson McArthur at South Mecklenburg was a 2nd Team All-CUSA selection last year when he posted 8 saves.

The Bullpen Arm To Watch

RHP Jackson Boss (SO) - 2-0, 0 SV, 2.57/1.14/.222, 14.0 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 12 K. Boss is actually a pretty cool story. He started off at Young Harris Junior College where he appeared in just 11 games as a freshman in 2017 with very little success (12.41 ERA, 2.51 WHIP, .377 OBA in 12.1 IP) so he transferred to Charlotte. After playing with the Charlotte Club baseball squad in 2019, he made the 49ers D-I roster this year and has been their most called-upon pitcher (10 appearances already) and one of the best relievers overall.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Charlotte features three players from the greater Raleigh area:

  • SO RHP Bryce McGowan (Cary HS, Cary)
  • FR INF Vito Patierno (Heritage HS, Wake Forest)
  • SR OF Patrick Wheeler (Holly Springs HS, Fuquay-Varina)

NC State leads the all-time series between the two schools with a record of 29-9.


Prediction

Charlotte has struggled to find a midweek starter this year. In three midweek games, 49ers pitchers have allowed 16 runs (all earned) in 5.1 IP. This is likely to be a Jonny Wholestaff game unless Charlotte can catch lightning in a bottle with a random starter.

NC State will send FR RHP Matt Willadsen to the mound for his second start.

Outcome: The Wolfpack take out some frustration in an 11-3 win.