Saturday, January 29, 2011

49ers baseball gets underway

The 49ers baseball team -- the Atlantic 10's preseason favorite -- opened preseason practice Friday at Hayes Stadium.

Charlotte, which opens its season Feb. 18 at home against Coppin State, will play 27 of its first 32 games at home. The 49ers will be going for their fourth league championship in the six seasons they've been in the A-10.

Coach Loren Hibbs' team returns six players who hit higher than .300 last season, including senior second baseman Corey Shaylor. Shaylor hit .388 last season on his way to making first-team all conference.

"We like having the bulls-eye," said Hibbs in a statement. "We've become accustomed to it. It's something we talk about with the players. It's nice to be respected by the others in the league and around the country, but we have to prove it on the field and take care of business."

-- In other "spring" sports news (although it's still January), Charlotte's tennis teams have started playing. The women opened with a 6-1 victory Friday against Radford at Davidson's indoor facility and are host to N.C. Central today at 1 p.m. The men, who lost their opener last week to North Carolina, play Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach on Sunday.