Thursday, May 31, 2007

49ers braced for NCAA baseball tourny

COLUMBIA -- Already a season to remember, I get the feeling the Charlotte 49ers' baseball team is on the verge of something even more special this season.
I'm all set up in downtown Columbia for this weekend's NCAA baseball regional featuring the host Gamecocks, N.C. State, Charlotte and Wofford. One by one the pieces appear to be falling into place to allow the 49ers the chance to leave this regional as the champion.
N.C. State now looks like it without pitching ace Andrew Brackman this season, who likely would have gone up against the 49ers in Friday's first game. Brackman's ex-girlfriend died in a car accident on May 18 and he did not make his scheduled start in the ACC tournament. While still dealing the loss he also has an enflamed elbow and isn't likely to make a start this weekend.
South Carolina has its own problems. Coach Ray Tanner was forced to suspend two players earlier this week following their arrest on charges of allegedly stealing electronic equipment. In addition, talented third baseman James Darnell is battling a back injury and may not play.
That leaves Wofford, who is the only team in the regional with a losing record and lost twice handily to South Carolina during the regular season. The Terriers, however, won five straight games in the Southern Conference tournament to earn the NCAA berth, a feat in itself.
And with Charlotte's bats heating up in last weekend's Atlantic 10 conference tournament and the continued steady presence of pitchers Adam Mills, Spencer Steedley and Zach Rosenbaum, the 49ers have the potential to make a lot of noise here.
Charlotte may be still looking for its first NCAA tournament win, but this team appears unlikely to settle for just one or two or just "happy to be there." -- Jim Utter


King Leonidas said...

NINER baseball, Uh-Huh!! Look for UNCC to surprise USC and NCSU. Good pitching and hot bats equals bad news for opponents. Key will be in keeping errors down. Go NINERS!!

Anonymous said...

I just want to win the first game. Then, we an march on from there.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy that Charlotte is in the NCAA Tourney this year. As a resident of the area, its is great. But as a graduate of USC and a very loyal fan, I just cant help but think that a sports writer should check his facts. If Jim Utter had checked his facts, he would have realized that the 2 players that were suspended were actually dismissed in the 1st half of the season. He would have also then realized that Carolina has pulled off another 40 + win season in the midst of that. I think the best team will win, and it has NOTHING to do with the fact that 2 high profile allstar freshman were dismissed before they could actually contribute to the team. CHECK YOUR FACTS!