CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Senior catcher Ian Graham belted two home runs while pitchers Dean Roland and Billy Creighton combined to allow only four hits by Charlotte, as UNC Asheville earned a 6-3 victory over the 49ers on Saturday afternoon at Hayes Stadium.
“It’s fun to play that well,” said Asheville head coach Tom Smith. “We got timely hitting, and Ian’s two home runs were big. Dean threw really well and Billy pitched excellently in relief.”
With the win the Bulldogs even the weekend series with Charlotte, who won last night’s opener 8-4. The two teams will close out the three-game swing on Sunday at noon.
Asheville improves to 10-22 on the season while the 49ers fall to 18-12 with the three-run setback.
Graham went 2-for-5 at the plate with two solo homers, while third baseman Robert McIntosh went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a run batted in. Creighton drove in two RBI for the Bulldogs, while picking up his first save of the season.
Roland (1-6) earned his first victory of the season, tossing six strong innings. He allowed three runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Creighton closed out the game, giving up only one hit in three innings of work.
First baseman Grant Dunnegan went 1-for-3 at the plate for Charlotte, with one RBI. 49er starter John Hamilton (1-3) was credited with the loss, allowing three runs on five hits in 4.2 innings.
Asheville took an early lead, as Graham led off the game with a solo shot to left. Creighton added a sacrifice fly to plate another run to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after one inning. Charlotte cut the Bulldog lead in half in the bottom of the third, plating a runner on a Michael Green sac bunt that scored Dunnegan from third.
Graham led off the fifth with another solo homer, before Asheville added three more runs in the top of the seventh. The 49ers scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh, but could not complete the comeback as the Bulldogs picked up the three-run victory.