Camels rally for 4-3 win in baseball series opener over UNC Asheville

Ryan Mattes (photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Ryan Mattes (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

BUIES CREEK - Campbell rallied from a 3-0 deficit, scoring two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to defeat UNC Asheville 4-3 in Friday's series opener. Matt Sergey moved to 4-0 on the mound this season, earning the win after scattering six hits and three runs in seven innings of work.

UNC Asheville opened the scoring in the second inning, leading off the frame with two base hits. Hunter Bryant scored on a fielder's choice when he beat out a throw to the plate with no outs to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Sergey got out of the jam with a strikeout and a lineout that the Camels turned into a double play after picking off Aaron Wright at second base.

The Bulldogs added another run in the third inning, securing a two-out single from Eli Miller before an RBI triple from Patrick Koontz gave the visitors a 2-0 advantage. The final Bulldog run of the evening came in the fifth inning when Jordan Lurie's RBI single plated Cody Buch and extended the UNC Asheville advantage to 3-0.

The Fighting Camels broke into the scoring column in the bottom half of the fifth inning, scoring twice on just one hit off Asheville starter Dean Roland. Following Nick Ray's leadoff single, Bryce Grady reached base off a base on balls. After recording a strikeout, Roland then hit the next three Camel batters to score Ray and Grady and bring Campbell within a run at 3-2. Roland regained his control and induced two fly-outs to leave the bases loaded.

Campbell scored two more runs in the sixth inning, again on only one hit. Olson was hit by a pitch to leadoff the frame, the fourth hit batsman of the game for Roland. Ray then singled through the left side, part of his 2-for-4 night as the only CU batter with multiple hits. Olson scored on a sacrifice fly from Grady and Ray came to the plate as the eventual winning run on an RBI fielder's choice groundout by Ben Fish.

Roland (4-4) allowed just four hits during his eight innings on the mound for UNC Asheville in the losing effort. He struck out three batters and walked one in addition to his four hit batsmen.

Asheville threatened during Sergey's final inning on the mound in the seventh, putting two runners on base with one out. Ben McQuown made a diving grab in shallow centerfield that preserved the one-run lead and took a sure hit away from Lurie.

Michael Felton saw a 14-game hitting streak come to an end during the game, but also contributed to the defensive effort in converting the save. Felton's diving stop on a chopper up the middle allowed him to throw out the Asheville leadoff batter at first base and cease any hope of a Bulldog rally in the eighth inning.

Sergey struck out three Bulldog batters in his seven innings of work before giving way to Ryan Mattes, who retired all six batters he faced over the final two innings to pick up his third save of the season. Mattes struck out three batters, including the game-ending strikeout of Adkins. 

Campbell improves to 29-7 overall, 7-3 in league play. UNC Asheville falls to 16-20, 5-8 in the Big South. The two teams will meet on Saturday afternoon for a doubleheader, with Game 1 set to get underway at 1 p.m.