Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tar Heels stand in way of 49ers school record

The Charlotte 49ers started their record-tying home winning streak with a victory against a powerhouse ACC team. To set the record, they'll need another.

Charlotte (29-9) will host perennial baseball power North Carolina (26-17) at 6 tonight at Hayes Stadium, where the 49ers have won 17 straight, tying a mark set during the 2007-08 seasons.

The 49ers started their streak March 16 with a thrilling, 11-10 victory against then-No.11 Clemson in front of an overflow crowd - an atmosphere likely to be repeated tonight.

"It is kind of weird sometimes how things work out," 49ers coach Loren Hibbs said. "North Carolina is playing very well right now and we have a lot of respect for their program. After seeing how they won two of three games against Clemson over the weekend, I wish maybe we could have caught them earlier in the season."

While the 49ers have had their share of success against ACC opponents, they've had a difficult time with the Tar Heels. Charlotte has a 6-29-1 record against North Carolina, with one win coming last season - 2-1 in Chapel Hill.

When Charlotte opened Hayes Stadium in March 2007, Hibbs had visions of a first-class facility hosting top-caliber teams and perhaps even an Atlantic 10 tournament or NCAA regional.

In three seasons, the 49ers have established a dominant home-field advantage, earned their first home win against a nationally ranked opponent since 2002 (Clemson) and are working on hosting postseason tournaments.

"We're not going to apologize for playing well at home or for playing a lot at home," Hibbs said. "A lot of work went into getting this program where it is today. I still believe we can do better."

As for tonight's game against the Tar Heels, Hibbs insists it will be business as usual for the 49ers.

"There is a little extra meaning, no doubt," he said. "But one of the things I'm most proud of this season is how this team has approached every game the same way when it comes to game preparation, regardless of the opponent."


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