March 26, 2009

Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Following a four-hit shutout at Winthrop Tuesday night, the Charlotte 49ers pitching staff held No. 5 North Carolina to just three hits and sophomore first baseman Ryan Rivers (Baltimore, Md. / Eastern Technical HS) belted two towering home runs for all of the offense needed for the 2-1 win at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill Wednesday evening in college baseball action.

Charlotte is 14-6, winning the last three road games, dropping North Carolina to 18-5.

The two teams started the game nearly 90 minutes earlier than originally scheduled due to rains coming into the area. The game was played in a constant drizzle.

It was the first win for Charlotte in Chapel Hill since April 20, 1988, but the second road victory in two seasons for Charlotte at a top-five opponent after winning 11-2 on March 5 at No. 3 South Carolina last season.

Junior transfer Patrick Lawson (Hilton Head, S.C.) held the Tar Heels to three hits in 5.1 innings pitched, giving up just a solo home run to pinch hitter Tarron Robinson to lead off the sixth inning. Lawson struck out seven and gave up one walk in 90 pitches for his second win of the season (2-1).

Rivers' two homers came in his first two at bats, in the second and fourth innings. It was the first time a Niner hit two home runs in a game since Chris Taylor blasted two out at Massachusetts last April 18.

Rivers leads Charlotte with seven home runs, 21 RBI and a .721 slugging percentage.

Reliever Jason Cunningham (Decatur, Ga.) relieved Lawson in the sixth, giving up a walk and hitting a batter to load the bases, but induced a groundout to first by cleanup hitter Kyle Seager to end the inning.
 
Closer Sam Pierce (Davidson, N.C. / North Mecklenburg HS) came in to pitch the final three innings for his third save of the season. He held the Tar Heels hitless in those three innings, striking out two and walking one.

Charlotte had six hits in the contest, with Rivers and outfielder Alan Parks (Cornelius, N.C. / North Mecklenburg HS) the only players in the game to collect two hits.

The Niners continue the road trip this weekend with an Atlantic 10 Conference series at Dayton. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m. against the Flyers.