BUIES CREEK — Campbell swept Saturday’s Big South Conference baseball doubleheader to take the series and hand South Carolina Upstate its first losses of the season.
The Camels walked it off, 4-3, in game one and used timely pitching to escape multiple jams in hanging on for a 4-2 win in game two.
With the outcomes, Campbell moves to 9-5 overall and 4-2 in Big South play. USC Upstate falls to 11-2 and 4-2 in the league.
The Campbell bullpen played a key role in each win. For the day, five relievers combined to post a line of 11 and one-third innings pitched, seven hits, one run (earned), four walks and 11 strikeouts.
Campbell trailed on a 3-run homer from Julian Rip in the top of the fourth.
The Camels responded with a run in the bottom of the frame on a groundout by Collin Wolf to plate Waldy Arias, who doubled earlier in the inning.
Campbell struck for two more to tie the game in the sixth on a Spencer Packard sacrifice fly and a Matthew Christian RBI single. Campbell had a chance to take the lead in the same inning, but left the bases loaded.
In the ninth, Arias was hit by a pitch with one out. He took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout by Connor Denning. A passed ball allowed the winning run.
Campbell walked it off for the first time since beating Quinnipiac in the bottom of the ninth at the Greenville Regional in 2019.
Arias reached base three times and scored three runs. Christian notched two hits.
Thomas Harrington started on the mound and allowed three runs and seven hits in four and one-third innings. Ty Cummings replaced him and retired the first eight batters he faced during three and two-thirds innings, allowing just one hit. Cade Kuehler tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the win.
Campbell got behind on a solo shot from Adam Grob in the second and an RBI single by Devin Buckner in the fourth that put the Spartans, up 2-0.
Christian had an RBI double in the fourth
Connor Denning tied the game with his team-best fifth home run of the year, a solo shot to right in the fifth.
Spencer Packard followed suit in the sixth, hitting a solo shot to nearly the exact same spot to give Campbell the lead.
Up by one, Waldy lifted a shallow fly ball to right center that was hauled in by a back-pedaling second baseman. Marcus Skundrich read the play well and tagged up to score and add an insurance run in the seventh.
In the top of the eighth, Zach Neto allowed the first two runners to reach ahead of the 3-4-5 spots in the Spartan order. A 3-2 curveball caught the inside corner for a strikeout for the first out and a deep fly ball advanced the lead runner for the second out.
With runners on the corners, Neto picked up another strikeout to strand the pair and preserve the 4-2 lead.
Neto (2-0) came back out for the ninth and worked a three-up-three-down inning to shut the door and earn the win.
The Campbell pitching staff worked through jams all night and managed to get Upstate to leave 15 runners on base in the second game and a total of 22 for the day.
Collin Wolf continued to dazzle in the field. He’s now committed only one error on the season having started every game at either third base or shortstop. He leads the team with 38 assists and has posted a .981 fielding percentage.
Campbell heads to Winthrop on Tuesday for its first road action in Big South play. With the unique season format this season, this will be the first of a handful midweek games against league opponents. After Winthrop, the Camels will be on the road next weekend at UNC Asheville.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)