TEMPE, Ariz. – Charlotte scored all three of its runs in the second inning and starting pitcher Andrew Smith allowed just one run on 7.1 innings as the 49ers defeated No. 19 Arkansas, 3-2, on Friday afternoon at Packard Stadium in the opener of the NCAA Tempe Regional.
Arkansas drops to 38-21 on the season, while Charlotte improves to 43-14 on the year.
Smith, the Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year, earned his 10th win of the season. Smith allowed just one run on five hits and struck out four in 7.1 innings. Corey Roberts, who had not made a relief appearance all season, earned the save after giving up a run on a hit and striking out three in 1.2 innings.
Arkansas starter Randall Fant took the loss to drop to 3-5 on the season. Fant allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits in two innings.
The Arkansas bullpen was outstanding again as Brandon Moore and Barrett Astin combined to throw seven scoreless innings. Moore tossed 5.1 shutout innings, allowing just three hits, while Astin pitched 1.2 scoreless innings.
Jarrod McKinney was the only Razorback to record a multiple-hit game as he finished 2-for-3. Kyle Robinson hit his 10th home run of the season, while Collin Kuhn also had a RBI.
Corbin Shive hit his first home run of the season and drove in two runs to lead the Charlotte offense. Justin Wilson also added two hits, while Justin Roland had the other 49er RBI.
Charlotte struck first, scoring twice in the top of the second. Wilson bounced a single up the middle to start the inning and came around to score on a two-run home run by Shive. Corey Shaylor followed with a single to left field. Ross Steedley then hit a ground ball to short, but Tim Carver’s throw to second was wild, allowing Steedley to reach and moving Shaylor to third. A sacrifice bunt by Kevin Gillespie advanced Steedley to second base with two outs. Roland brought home Shaylor with a ground out to second to put the 49ers in front 3-0.
Arkansas got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the third. Carver doubled into the left field corner to start the inning. With one out, Carver stole third and then came in to score on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Kuhn.
Charlotte had a good opportunity to extend the lead in the top of the eighth, but the Razorbacks were able to get out of the inning still down by two. Shane Basen was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then moved to third on a one-out single to center field by Shive. Shaylor laid down a safety squeeze bunt back to the mound, but Astin fielded and flipped to James McCann to retire Basen at the plate for the second out of the inning. Astin got out of the inning by getting Steedley to ground out to short to end the inning.
Arkansas would not go quietly in the ninth as the Razorbacks got a two-out, two-strike home run from Robinson, his 10th home run of the season, to cut the 49er lead to 3-2. However, Matt Reynolds struck out looking to end the game and give Charlotte the win.
Arkansas will next play at 4 p.m. (CT) tomorrow against the loser of tonight’s game between top seed Arizona State and No. 4 seed New Mexico. A live webcast of the game will be available on FoxSportsArizona.com.