March 23, 2012

Baseball takes Big South opener 8-0 over Winthrop behind complete game shutout from Matt Sergey

Rock Hill, S.C. – Matt Sergey tossed a five-hit complete game shutout on Friday night as Campbell defeated Winthrop 8-0 at the Winthrop Ballpark in CU's return to the Big South Conference. The Fighting Camels (21-3, 1-0 BSC) win a 16th-consecutive game, while Winthrop drops to 6-17 overall, 0-1 in league play.

The Camels got off to a fast start, with Jimmy Brenneman lining a double to the right-center field gap. Ben McQuown followed with a bunt single to second base, and Jake Kirkland drove both runners home on his 2-RBI single as CU took a 2-0 lead after the first.

Campbell pushed two more runs across in the fourth, with Blake Boyce starting the spurt with a two-out single. Kyle Holmstrom followed with a home run to left field, his second of the season, to give the Camels a 4-0 advantage.

CU starter Matt Sergey (3-0) cruised through the first five innings, allowing just one runner to reach base before the game was halted by a rainstorm in the top of the sixth. After a 45-minute delay, both starting pitchers returned to the mound. Sergey got in some trouble in the sixth inning, as Winthrop placed runners on the corners with one out. McQuown made a diving catch on a shallow fly ball to center field and Sergey got Patrick Gamblin on one of his six strikeouts during the game to escape unscathed.

After scoring a single run in the sixth and seventh innings, the visitors pushed two more across in the ninth. Jake Kirkland just missed his fifth homer of the season, sending a line shot off the 370-foot sign on the left field wall. Erick Gaylord pinch ran for Kirkland and scored on David Olson's RBI single. Kurt Odom then entered as a pinch runner and later scored on a passed ball to give the Camels the final 8-0 margin.

Sergey finished his complete game effort with six strikeouts and one walk, throwing 109 pitches in an efficient effort on the hill. His previous longest outing was the 7.1 innings he tossed earlier this month against Valparaiso.

The CU defense helped secure the win with diving catches from Brenneman in the seventh and Brent Graham in the eighth. Graham's snag came with runners on first and second, and the shortstop doubled off a Winthrop base-runner before Sergey induced a fly-out to end the inning.

Matt Pierpont took the loss for the Eagles, dropping to 2-4 this season. He surrendered six runs on nine hits through seven innings, striking out five and walking one.

Brenneman, McQuown, Kirkland and Holmstrom all finished with two hits for Campbell, and Brenneman stole his league-best 18th base of the season.

The two clubs, meeting for the first time since Campbell's departure from the Big South in 1994, will conclude the series with a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 2 p.m.