GREENVILLE — Third-seeded Campbell scored four runs in the first inning and a gem thrown by Michael Horrell to top the No. 15-ranked and second-seeded N.C. State, 5-4, in the NCAA baseball tournament regional opener on Friday and Saturday at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Campbell jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, highlighted by Koby Collins’ two-out, two-run home run. Horrell struck out a career-high 11 batters while issuing no walks over seven innings.
Horrell (10-3) became the fourth pitcher in program history to earn 10 victories in a season and the first since Heath Bowers in 2014. The senior allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits in his first NCAA Tournament start.
Campbell was held to just four hits for the first time since April 12, but State committed three errors, issued six walks and gave up a hit by pitch, allowing Campbell to take its first NCAA Tournament win since 2014.
Collins, Matthew Barefoot, Luis Gimenez and Spencer Packard each had a hit in the win. Barefoot scored two of Campbell’s five runs, and Collins drove in two. Collins also drew two walks after hitting his two-run homer, reaching base in three of his four plate appearances.
On Friday with Campbell leading, 5-4, in the middle of the ninth, the game was suspended until Saturday at noon due to inclement weather.
Landry Moore took the mound in the bottom of the ninth. He dealt a flyout to right field for the first out before issuing a walk to Terrell Tatum, who stole second base. Moore got the second out on a strikeout before a ground out to Collin Wolf at third base secured the victory.
Senior right-hander Tyson Messer appeared in the bottom of the eighth and dealt a pair of strikeouts and groundout after Horrell allowed a leadoff home run that cut Campbell’s lead to 5-4.
Barefoot reached on an error by shortstop Will Wilson, one of the three errors the ACC Defensive Player of the Year committed. Barefoot moved over to second on a Tyler Anshaw groundout and then scored the first run on Gimenez’ RBI single up the middle.
Packard kept the inning going by doubling down the left-field line, placing runners on second and third with one out for Wolf, who drove in Gimenez from third with a sacrifice fly to center field.
On the next pitch, Collins sent a no-doubt, two-run home run over the left-field fence, capping Campbell’s four-run first inning.
State scored three unearned runs on two hits and two errors in the bottom of the third, trimming Campbell’s lead to 4-3.
The Camels responded with a run in the next half inning to go ahead, 5-3. Barefoot singled with one away and then advanced to second on another Wilson error. The ball went into the outfield, allowing Barefoot to move to third. He scored one pitch later an Anshaw’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Horrell had three straight 1-2-3 innings from the fourth to the sixth. After retiring 10 straight batters, Horrell allowed a leadoff single in the seventh. He struck out three straight pinch hitters to protect the lead.
He gave up a solo home run to Jonny Butler immediately before play was halted at 2:21 p.m. due to lightning in the area.
After an hour, 20 minute-delay, Messer took the mound with State’s two, three and four hitters due up. He fanned the first batter, got the second looking and then allowed a two-out hit by pitch. A groundout to second ended the eighth.
Exactly 24 hours after the original first pitch, at 12:06 p.m. on Saturday, Moore dealt a scoreless bottom of the ninth to advance the Camels to the winners bracket matchup with Quinnipiac on Sunday at 4 p.m.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)