HIGH POINT, N.C. — The Fighting Camels piled on eight runs in the first four innings for a series-clinching 8-6 victory over the High Point Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Coy O. Williard Stadium.
Campbell combined to hit for the cycle as Matthew Barefoot (1-for-4, HR, RBI) had a solo home run, AJ Hrica (1-for-2, 3B, RBI, BB) had a triple and Koby Collins (1-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB) had a three-run double. Luis Gimenez(2-for-5, R) and Spencer Packard (2-for-3, RBI, R) had two singles apiece, while Collin Wolf (1-for-4, R) also had a base hit.
Gimenez and Packard logged their eighth and sixth multi-hit outings, respectively.
Senior righty Michael Horrell (2-1) earned the win for CU, tossing 6.1 innings with six runs, four earned, while striking out three with two walks. Playing just nine miles from his hometown of Thomasville, N.C., Horrell retired nine of his first 10 batters faced.
Landry Moore was credited with his second save of the season, pitching the final 2.2 innings. The Barton College transfer kept the Panthers off the board over the final 2.0 frames.
With the win, Campbell (10-8, 2-0 Big South), the Big South preseason favorites, have clinched the conference series win over the High Point Panthers (6-10, 0-2 Big South), who were picked to finish second in the Big South preseason poll. Since 2012, the Camels have claimed seven of eight Big South opening series.
In the first inning, Barefoot launched his second-career leadoff home run with a solo bomb to left field. Before his first leadoff homer last season at Presbyterian on April 14, 2018, the Camels had not hit a leadoff home run since March 5, 2012 (Jimmy Brenneman vs. Holy Cross, March 5, 2012).
With a 1-0 lead, Wolf led off the second inning with a single down the left field line, good for his 18th-striaght game reaching base safely; the junior has reached in all 18 of CU’s games this season. Two batters later, Grant Harris (0-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB) and Collins drew back-to-back walks, loading the bases for Hrica.
After falling behind 0-1, Hrica worked the count full, eventually drawing a base-loaded walk for the first run of the frame. Barefoot’s sac fly that turned into a double play ended the second with a 3-0 advantage for the Camels.
Campbell posted a four-spot in the top of the third, starting with a bases-loaded sac fly for Zach Minnick (0-for-4, SF, RBI). Harris drew a walk to reload the bases, and on the next at-bat, Collins roped a double down the left field line to clear the bases for a 7-0 advantage. The bases-clearing two-bagger was the Blinn College transfer’s first career hit as a Fighting Camel.
One inning later, the Camels notched another run as Packard drove in his team-high 15th run on an RBI single up the middle. With a full count, the junior fouled off five-straight pitches before scoring Anshaw from third to make it an 8-0 lead.
High Point scored six unanswered runs over the next four innings: three in the fourth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. Moore, the Big South Reliever of the Week three weeks ago, came in the seventh with runners on second and third with just one away. A fielder’s choice and a sac fly allowed HPU’s final two runs to cross before Moore dealt a pop out to end the inning.
Moore retired eight of the final 10 Panthers he faced to earn his second save of the year. The Benson, N.C. native sat down the first batter of the ninth with his second strikeout of the day before an uncharacteristic double play ended the game.
With a runner on first and one out, Hrica tracked down a fly ball in center field, he then threw out the runner trying to retreat to first. The base runner, who thought the ball went into the gap, had already crossed second, but he did not tag second on his way back to first, resulting in the final two outs of the ballgame.
The Camels go for their third sweep of the season Monday, March 18 as the series finale at High Point is set for a 4 p.m. first pitch.