BUIES CREEK — Joe Zirolli put the Campbell up for good with a two-run single in the bottom of the third as Campbell defeated Gardner-Webb 6-3 on Friday night at Jim Perry Stadium.
Campbell right-hander Wes Noble (3-2) picked up the win, allowing three earned runs over five and two-thirds innings with seven strikeouts. Tyson Messer (Harnett Central) notched his fourth save of the season as the junior right-hander sat the Bulldogs down in order in the top of the ninth.
GWU sophomore Landon Mitchell (2-4) took the loss, giving up five runs on six hits over six complete innings.
Christian Jones (2-for-3, 2 RBI) led the Camels offensively with his ninth multi-hit game of the season, finishing with a solo home run, an RBI single and two runs scored. Luis Gimenez had an RBI-single and swiped two bases. he has nine stolen bases for the season.
Triton graduate Logan Bender faced the minimum across two and one-third innings of relief for Campbell. The redshirt-freshman lowered his ERA to a 1.45 as he kept Gardner-Webb off the bases.
Campbell (11-11, 4-0 Big South) got on the board early as Jones’ single through the left side scored Gimenez in the bottom of the first. The Camels have outscored their opponents 24-5 in the first inning this season. Campbell is 9-4 record when it scores first.
Gardner-Webb (13-11, 1-3 Big South) put up three runs in the top of the second on singles from Luke Kaesmeyer (1-for-2, 2 RBIs) and Taber Mongero (1-for-5, RBI) to take an early 3-1 lead. The Bulldogs were held scoreless for the remainder of the game as Campbell’s pitching staff retired 22 of the last 27 batters faced.
The Camels executed three consecutive bunts to perfection to cut the lead to one in the bottom of the second. After Kyle Mehl reached on an error, Bryce Myers laid down a bunt single to put runners on first and second. Gimenez followed with a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Tyler Anshaw squeezed Mehl home to make it 3-2.
Campbell regained the lead when Zirolli pushed a two-run single through the middle in the bottom of the third, scoring Zach Minnick and Jones to give the Camels a 4-3 edge.
Jones extended Campbell’s lead in the bottom of the fourth, smacking a liner over the left field wall for his sixth home run of the season. Up 5-3, the Camels gained some insurance on an RBI single from Gimenez in the bottom of the eighth that scored Zirolli for the final run of the game.
Campbell looks to clinch its second-straight Big South series Saturday, March 24, as the Camels take on the Bulldogs at 1 p.m. in Jim Perry Stadium.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)