Camels take two from NC Central to open the Campbell Invitational Tournament on Military Appreciation Weekend
BUIES CREEK – Campbell (7-3) pounded out 33 hits and scored 21 runs in a doubleheader sweep of NC Central (1-9) on Friday evening at Taylor Field by scores of 15-2 and 6-1. Jake Kirkland (Pauline, S.C) finished the night five-for-six with five RBI and four runs scored to raise his season batting average to .529 on the first day of the Campbell Invitational Tournament.
The Camel pitching staff held the Eagles to three runs and nine hits in 16 innings of work. Hector Cedano (Sunrise, Fla.) and Heath Bowers (Lillington, N.C.) picked up the wins in games one and two, respectively, with Bowers earning his first collegiate win.
The doubleheader opened Military Appreciation Weekend at Campbell University. Captain Lauren Shaw, an assistant professor of Military Science, was honored prior to the first game with the opportunity to throw out the first pitch.
The Campbell Invitational Tournament will continue on Sunday afternoon with two games. NC Central will take on Holy Cross at 12 p.m. to open the day. Campbell will then return to action, facing Holy Cross at 3:30 p.m.
Campbell used a ten-run first innings to cruise to a 15-2 victory in the series opener. The Camels collected nine hits and took advantage of three Eagle errors in the opening frame to jump in front.
After NCCU got one run back in the second inning, CU pushed two more runs across in the third inning. The first four batters reached safely for the Camels, with Kirkland and Josh Holskey (Roanoke, Va.) collecting RBI base hits.
Hector Cedano (1-0) pitched four solid innings in his first start of the season, scattering five hits and one run before giving way to five CU relief pitchers who produced solid work. Gavin Guarrera (0-3) took the loss for NC Central, allowing ten runs (six earned) in two-thirds of an inning.
Eight Camel starters finished with at least one hit, led by Ben McQuown's (Waianae, Hawaii) four-for-five game. The junior transfer from Lower Columbia CC scored two runs and had one RBI in Game 1 for CU. Kirkland and Nick Ray (Gulfport, Miss.) posted three-hit games, with Ray contributing a three-for-three game after entering as a pinch hitter in the third inning.
Campbell pushed across three runs in each the first and second innings and rode the early scoring to a 6-1 triumph to complete the doubleheader sweep.
The starting pitcher matchup of Game 2 featured a showdown of Harnett Central High School graduates, with Bowers earning his first collegiate start for Campbell and Glenn Frye on the mound for NC Central.
Bowers (1-0) scattered one hit over five-plus innings and allowed one run in picking up his first victory. The freshman struck out five Eagle batters while walking two. Frye (0-2) surrendered eleven hits and six runs (five earned) in taking the loss.
With two outs and nobody on in the first inning, CU recorded four consecutive hits, highlighted by Kirkland's RBI double to left field and David Olson's RBI double to right center to take another early lead. An Eagle error allowed the third Camel run of the inning as Campbell took a 3-0 advantage after the first inning.
The second inning was highlighted by Kirkland's three-run home run, his third homer of the season. The junior now holds a 1.000 slugging percentage through ten games, with three doubles and two triples also on his slate.
David Olson was one-for-three at the plate and came on in relief of Bowers to shut the door on NC Central. Olson allowed just one hit over two innings pitched in his second appearance on the mound this season.