Mecklenburg County’s two Division I baseball teams step into conference tournament play Wednesday.
The fourth-seed Charlotte 49ers will face No. 5 Texas-San Antonio in a first-round Conference USA tournament game at 8:30 p.m. in Biloxi, Miss.
The No. 5 Davidson Wildcats go against fourth-seed Richmond in a first-round Atlantic 10 tournament game at 5 p.m. in Washington.
Here are three things to know about the 49ers and Wildcats as they go after conference titles and bids in the NCAA tournament:
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1. The 49ers (31-22, 17-13) will start right-hander Chase Gooding (4-1, 3.83 ERA), the team’s normal Saturday starter, against the Roadrunners (31-22, 16-13), saving No. 1 starter Josh Maciejewski (8-2, 2.46) for the winner or loser of Wednesday’s game between top-seed Southern Mississippi and No. 8 Ala.-Birmingham. In a game against UTSA that clinched Charlotte the fourth seed in the tournament last Thursday, Gooding allowed one hit over four innings in relief of Maciejewski, who opened the game by pitching four innings of one-hit ball.
2. The 49ers might have the best catcher in the league in junior Harris Yett, who played at South Mecklenburg High and began his college career at N.C. State. He’s hitting .348 (ninth in the league) with six homers and 37 RBIs. Yett also hasn’t committed an error this season.
3. Although the 49ers lost their final two (and relatively meaningless) regular-season games to UTSA, they had won their previous five series in conference play.
1. The Wildcats (32-19, 14-10 A-10) certainly have had a recent taste of postseason success. But it might be tough to duplicate what they accomplished in 2017, winning the A-10 tournament, then capturing a regional in Chapel Hill (including knocking No. 2 overall-seed North Carolina) and advancing to a super regional. But if that experience taught the Wildcats anything, it’s that anything is possible.
2. This is it for Davidson coach Dick Cooke, who is stepping aside after 28 seasons. Cooke, who will stay at Davidson as an associate athletics director, will be replaced by lead assistant Rucker Taylor.
3. As of Tuesday, Cooke hadn’t announced who his starting pitcher will be against Richmond (31-22, 15-9). So the Spiders will be left wondering if it will be Allen Barry (8-2, 3.83 ERA), Evan Roberts (6-6, 3.86), Josh Hudson (4-4, 6.55) or Connor Gordon (7-2, 2.35).
David Scott: @davidscott14