Kirkland’s walk off homer leads Campbell past Valpo in 10 innings

Jake Kirkland (photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Jake Kirkland (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

BUIES CREEK – Jake Kirkland blasted his fourth home run of the season with one out in the bottom of the tenth to give Campbell a 6-5 walk-off win over visiting Valparaiso in the series opener Friday afternoon. The Camels enter Saturday's doubleheader 11-3 overall and riding the program's longest winning streak since the 2004 squad won seven straight games.

Logan Self (3-1) earned the win in relief of Campbell starter Matt Sergey, who had thrown 7.1 strong innings on the mound, scattering eight hits and five runs (four earned) in his no decision. Sergey also struck out six Crusader batters while walking two. Self picked up his third win of the season, allowing just one hit in his 2.2 innings of work and striking out two of the seven batters he faced.

Campbell got on the board first in the second inning, as David Olson lined a one-out single up the middle and was driven home on Josh Holskey's RBI double to give CU a 1-0 advantage.

Valpo took the lead in the third, scoring its first run on a two-out double down the right field line from Steven Scoby that plated Andrew Bain. The Crusaders tacked on another run when Bain scored on a single to the shortstop.

Scoring two more runs in the fourth inning, Valpo increased its lead to 4-1 on Bain's two-RBI double. Bain finished two-for-four with two RBI and one run scored for the Crusaders.

The Camels immediately got one run back in the bottom of the frame as Josh Holskey added his second RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Kirkland. Kirkland had reached base on a fielder's choice and advanced to third on a single from Olson.

The pivotal three-run seventh inning rally with CU trailing 4-2 came after two outs had been recorded in the inning. Kyle Holmstrom recorded a single to third base and pinch hitter Bryce Grady single to center field to put two on base. Jimmy Brenneman then tripled down the right field line to score two Camels and then scored the go-ahead run himself when the right-fielder's throw to third base entered the Campbell dugout.

The Crusaders fought back to tie the game in the top of the eighth with Will Hagel singling home Chris Manning to even the score at 5-5. Manning was two-for-five with one RBI and one run scored on the afternoon and joined Bain as the other Crusader with two hits.

Jarad Miller entered in relief of Valpo starter Tyler Deetjen with one on and one out in the eighth inning and allowed only one walk in his two innings of relief until Kirkland's at-bat in the tenth.

Valpo drops to 4-8 on the season and Miller falls to 2-1 with the loss. The two teams will meet for a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch of Game 1 slated for 1 p.m. at Taylor Field.