Winning Streak moves to 18 games as Baseball sweeps Winthrop in dramatic fashion

Andrew Jacobsen (photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Andrew Jacobsen (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

Rock Hill, S.C. – Campbell rallied in both games of a Saturday doubleheader, enduring a two-plus hour weather delay in the first game to complete a series sweep of Winthrop by scores of 7-6 in 12 innings and 6-4 in the nightcap. The two wins move the CU winning streak to 18 games, the longest in program history and the current longest streak of any collegiate team in the country.

The Fighting Camels improve to 23-3 overall, 3-0 in the Big South Conference. The team returns to Buies Creek to host Charleston Southern on Friday at 6 p.m. for the Big South home opener. Winthrop drops to 6-19, 0-3 in league play.

Game 1: Campbell 7, Winthrop 6 (12 innings)

The Winthrop lineup got to Camel starter Frank Zier early, collecting five hits and two walks over the first 1.1 innings. Zier allowed one run in both the first and second innings and was relieved by Logan Self, who entered with two outs in the second and stranded three Winthrop runners on base in the inning.

WU tacked a run on the board off Self in the third inning on T.J. Olesczuk's RBI single that scored Matt Lobacz, giving the Eagles a 3-0 advantage.

Eagle starter Eric Ruth retired the first eleven batters he faced and cruised through the first six innings. The right-hander allowed just two hits during that span, both of which came in the fourth inning to Michael Felton and Jake Kirkland. Ruth was able to get David Olson to foul out to end the two-out threat.

After the back-to-back Camel singles in the fourth, Ruth sat down the next eight CU batters he faced before running into trouble with one out in the seventh inning. Campbell mounted a dramatic rally, started with three consecutive singles from Kirkland, Ray and Bryce Grady. Kirkland scored on Grady's single after an error from the leftfielder helped put CU on the board.

After a strikeout and the runners advancing on a passed ball, Erick Gaylord responded with a 2-RBI pinch hit single that scored Ray and Grady, making the score 6-3. Gaylord then stole second base and came to the plate on an RBI single from Brent Graham, bringing the Camels within two runs. Ruth departed after Graham's base hit, allowing seven hits and five runs in his 6.2 innings of work, striking out six while walking none.

WU reliever Preston Johnson walked Jimmy Brenneman, gave up an RBI single to Ben McQuown and walked Felton to load the bases. The Eagles brought in Austin Stuart out of the bullpen, who was able to strikeout Kirkland to end the Camel rally after CU put up five runs in the frame to get within a single run at 6-5.

The two teams then waited through a 2 hour, 11 minute weather delay, resuming play in the bottom of the seventh after the thunderstorm passed through. It was the second consecutive day that the squads experienced a weather delay.

Matt Marksberry entered in the eighth inning and tossed five innings of shutout relief. The lefty retired the first 13 batters he faced and allowed a single hit during the 12th, picking up the win for the visitors to move to 2-0 on the year.

The Camels pushed across what turned into the winning run in the top of the 12th. Ray and Grady started the rally when they secured consecutive one-out singles and advanced one base on a sacrifice bunt. Ray then scored on a wild pitch to give CU the eventual winning run. 

Game 2: Campbell 6, Winthrop 4

Winthrop scored three runs in the first inning to take another early lead against the Camels, but CU responded immediately in the second. David Olson provided a two-run homer to bring Campbell within a run and Graham then singled and scored on a base hit from McQuown to even the score.

Andrew Jacobsen provided an outstanding relief effort for the visitors, entering with two outs in the first inning and going 7.1 strong innings to pick up the win. The right-hander allowed just three hits, striking out nine batters while walking four in the dominating performance.

Campbell took the lead in the fifth as McQuown led off with a single. He was then sacrificed to second base and scored on a single from Grady. CU added a single run in the eighth and ninth innings to build the lead while Jacobsen held the Eagle offense at bay.

Ryan Mattes entered with two on and nobody out in the ninth, retiring three of the four batters he faced to pick up his second save of the season. 

McQuown finished the game 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and one run scored. Nick Ray finished the two games 4-for-7 with five runs scored after entering as a pinch hitter in the opening game and getting a start at first base in the nightcap.