Baseball looks to extend hot start while hosting Longwood in weekend series

Photo by Bennett Scarborough
Photo by Bennett Scarborough

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BUIES CREEK - With two mid-week wins over Rider, Campbell is off to the best start to a season in senior college history, besting the 14-4 mark that the 1971 CU team started the year. Campbell also extended its winning streak to ten games, two shy of the program record of 12 games that was established in 1986.

The Fighting Camels will look to extend the team's hot start beginning Friday at 6 p.m. when they play host to future Big South Conference member Longwood in the first of a three-game series. The Lancers will officially join the league on July 1, 2012.

Campbell tops the team charts in the Big South Conference in several categories, including batting average (.331), slugging percentage (.451) and stolen bases (35). The Camels are returning to the conference that the athletic program was a founding member of in 1983. The CU teams competed in the Big South until 1994 when the program left for the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Individually, Michael Felton and Jake Kirkland are the two of the three leading batters in the conference. Felton leads all student-athletes with a .486 batting average. Kirkland is not far behind, batting at a .400 clip.

Frank Zier is second in the league with 28.0 innings pitched and currently has the fifth-best opponents batting average at .200 and seventh-best ERA at 1.61. The senior from Frederick, Md. had a 20 inning scoreless streak snapped in his last outing against Valparaiso.

Longwood brings an 11-6 record to Taylor Field and has two batters with better than a .435 average on the season. Robby Newman is hitting at a .446 clip with 16 RBI, 17 runs scored, eight doubles and three home runs. Justin Lacy is batting .436 with 12 RBI, 12 runs scored, four doubles and two homers. Brandon Vick leads the Lancer pitching staff with a perfect 3-0 record and 23.2 innings pitched while accumulating a 3.42 ERA.

Following Friday's series opener, the two teams are scheduled to meet for a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. Campbell is 13-2 at Taylor Field so far this season and is currently in a stretch of playing 14 of 15 games at the friendly confines in Buies Creek.