March 15, 2013
Justin Seager doubled home the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Charlotte's 7-6 series-opening win over Siena Friday in North Carolina. The Saints argued the decisive play, and replay showed Shane Basen was tagged out well before crossing the plate.
The game started as a pitcher's duel, but turned into a slugfest as both teams put up consecutive six-run frames.
Charlotte broke a scoreless tie with six runs in the sixth off Siena starter Matt Gage who had allowed just two hits in his first five innings on the hill. The 49ers had six hits in the inning, but Siena got out of a bases loaded threat to prevent further damage.
Then, it was the Saints' turn.
Vincent Citro started a six-run, seven hit rally with an infield single. Larry Balkwill drove home the first run on a dropped sacrifice fly, and Brian Fay singled to keep the rally alive. Mike Allen's two-run double brought Siena within a run, and freshman Tyler Martis drove home the equalizer with a single to center.
Charlotte starter Tyler Barnette brought a no-hitter into the seventh before getting tagged for the seven hits and six runs.
The two bullpens did the job from there until Charlotte scored the game-winner.
Basen was hit by a pitch with two outs and nobody on base in the ninth, and Seager followed with a double into the left field corner. Andres Ortiz fielded the ball cleanly and hit Martis who pivoted and fired a perfect relay to Balkwill who tagged Basen on the left shoulder as he began his slide for the plate. First base umpire Tommy Caudle called Basen safe, setting off a Charlotte celebration. The Saints were left questioning what had happened.
Siena will have three more cracks at the 49ers, starting with Saturday's doubleheader at noon.