BUIES CREEK – Campbell welcomes Valparaiso to Taylor Field on Friday for the opener of a three-game series against the Crusaders. The Fighting Camels enter the weekend riding a five-game winning streak, the program's longest since 2009. CU is 10-3 overall.
Valpo comes to Buies Creek 4-7 overall after dropping two games at Wake Forest during the week by scores of 13-4 and 3-0. The Crusaders have two players with a better than .300 batting average eleven games into the season, led by Tanner Vavra's .362 average. Vavra is 17-for-47 with one double, two triples, five RBI and 7 runs scored. Billy Cribs is also batting .306 with two doubles and five walks thus far in 2012.
Jared Miller leads the Valpo pitching staff with a perfect 2-0 record, having appeared in five games with a 3.00 ERA. Miller has thrown 9.0 innings and has eight strikeouts and three walks. The Crusaders are 3-0 in extra inning games, including a season opening 5-2 victory over Murray State in 13 innings.
The Camels lead the Big South Conference in team batting average (.333) and on base percentage (.425) through the first three weeks of the season. The CU offense has been led by reigning Big South Player of the Week honoree Jake Kirkland, who is hitting at a .478 clip over the season's first 13 games. The junior from Pauline, S.C. leads the club with an .826 slugging percentage, two triples, three home runs, 38 total bases and a .576 on base percentage.
The CU pitching staff currently has a collective 3.16 ERA. Frank Zier is 2-0 after his complete game shutout of Holy Cross last Monday and has 16 strikeouts in his 21 innings of work. Matt Sergey leads the club with 19 strikeouts and is 1-0 in his three starts for the Camels, while left-hander Paul Eyster has amassed a 1.10 ERA and 1-0 record during his three starts.
First pitch for Friday's opener is scheduled for 3 p.m. The two teams will then meet in a doubleheader Saturday, set to begin at 1 p.m. Live stats and live video will be available on both Friday and Saturday. You can find the links at the top of this page and on the schedule page.