Buies Creek – Ben Calvano doubled, tripled and drove in three to lead Campbell in a 9-4 win over Longwood Thursday at Jim Perry Stadium.
With the series opening win, Campbell clinched a spot in next week’s Big South Championship in Lexington, S.C.
The Camels moved to 24-29 overall and 9-13 in Big South play, while Longwood dropped to 18-33 on the season and 6-16 in league games.
With Longwood up 2-1 after a two-run top of the third, Calvano ripped a two out, 3-2 pitch off the top of the left field wall, scoring Zach Minnick and tying the game at 2-2.
Two innings later, the senior from Kansas City, Mo. tripled down the left field line after Jeff Hahs reached on a two out Longwood error and Minnick walked. Both scored to give Campbell a 4-2 lead.
Three Campbell hits and three Lancer errors led to a five-run eighth for the Camels. Calvano led off the inning with an infield single, scoring on the second Longwood error of the frame. Drew Butler also picked up a two-run triple, scoring on a Matthew Barefoot RBI single to highlight the inning, putting Campbell up 9-2.
Longwood scratched two runs across in the top of the ninth with a Carlos Garrido sacrifice fly and a Sammy Miller RBI single, but a pop out on the infield ended the rally.
Allan Winans (4-6) earned the win, working 6 2/3 innings with two runs, one earned, on six hits with a strikeout and a walk. Harry Thomas picked up the save, his second on the season, pitching 2 1/3 innings with two runs on three hits with a strikeout and three walks.
Cody Wager (4-5) was charged with the loss, allowing four runs, two earned, on eight hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Calvano was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run for the Camels in the win, coming up just a home run shy of the cycle. Hahs was 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run, while Kyle Mehl went 2-for-3. Minnick also scored twice for CU.
Sammy Miller and Antwaun Tucker both drove in runs and picked up a pair of hits for the Lancers.
Game two of the series is set for Friday afternoon.
The Big South Baseball Championship begins Tuesday, May 23rd in Lexington, SC at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. Photo by Bennett Scarborough