2012 Campbell Baseball Review: Camels set 10 team records

Michael Felton (photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Michael Felton (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The 2012 Campbell University baseball season was a record-breaking campaign in many aspects. The Fighting Camels broke 10 single season team records, including a program-best 41 overall wins, while individuals established seven new single season marks and one career record.

Campbell's return to the Big South Conference was highlighted by the club leading the league in hitting with a .314 batting average en route to a 15-9 second place regular season finish. CU placed three student-athletes on the Big South first-team all-conference charts and one member on the second-team.

Michael Felton burst onto the scene as a junior after transferring from Gateway Community College and helped the Camels to a 23-3 start and 18-game winning streak, both marks the best in CU program history.

Felton led the entire country in base hits (103) through the end of the conference tournament and was fourth in the nation with a .424 batting average. The first-team all-conference honoree finished the season as Campbell's all-time single season leader in hits (103), singles (87) and at-bats (243).

Matt Sergey and Andrew Jacobsen each accomplished a pitching milestone no other Camel had previously reached. Both right-handers finished with perfect 7-0 records to become the first CU pitchers with at least five decisions to have a perfect winning percentage.

Sergey was a first-team all-conference pitcher who finished his senior season with a 3.38 ERA and 75 strikeouts. He helped start Campbell's Big South run with a complete game shutout of Winthrop in the league opener, earning him conference Pitcher of the Week recognition.

Jake Kirkland joined Felton and Sergey on the all-Big South first-team after finishing second among league leaders in RBI (55), fourth in hits (79), eighth in runs scored (47), third in doubles (19) and third in total bases (123). Kirkland smacked a walk-off home run against Valparaiso in a 3-2 Camel victory on March 10. He also had a three-run go-ahead homer in the eighth inning over Charleston Southern that helped Campbell to a 5-2 league win over the Buccaneers.

David Olson rounded out the CU all-conference representatives with his second-team selection. Olson was second in the league in doubles (20), seventh in total bases (112) and hits (75) and eighth in RBI (44) and slugging percentage (.523).

He had the game-winning RBI in a win over nationally-ranked N.C. State on April 17 and was second on the team with five home runs this season. In addition to 56 starts in the field, Olson also carried a 1.86 ERA with four saves during nine appearances on the mound.

The Campbell pitching staff posted a program-best 3.86 team ERA, the first in school history to be under 4.00. Ryan Mattes settled into the closer role midway through the season and set a new single season record with 10 saves to go along with four wins.

The team ERA was more than three runs a game lower than the 2011 team's 7.11 ERA. Eight different pitchers won at least three games for the Camels, led by the seven wins from Sergey and Jacobsen. The staff recorded program high in strikeouts (432) and fewest walks per nine innings (3.40).

The Fighting Camel offense also produced several new program highs, beginning with most games played (59). The team established new records in at-bats (2038) and sacrifice hits (60). Campbell finishes with a top-10 team ranking in the country in batting average, runs scored, hits, stolen bases, on base percentage and hit by pitch.

The Camels were second in the nation in the hit by pitch category with 108, led by Jimmy Brenneman's 27 HBPs. Brenneman established the new career record in the category (58) during his two-year CU career. Brenneman led the Big South with 66 runs scored, the eight-best mark in the country.

He was aided by Ben McQuown's 20 sacrifice hits, a program record and the sixth-most nationally. Brenneman, McQuown, Felton and Kirkland all played in a CU record 59 games this season.

In Big South regular season games, sophomore left-hander Hector Cedano compiled a 1.78 ERA (third-best in the league), 2-0 record and a .194 opponent batting average (third).

The Fighting Camels finished 10-4 against foes from the state of North Carolina during the 2012 season, including wins over ACC programs Duke and N.C. State. Campbell defeated a nationally-ranked Wolfpack team 8-6 in Buies Creek on April 17, while taking a 9-7 road win over Duke on February 21.

CU also posted a three-game series sweep over Horizon League champion Valparaiso, finishing the season 5-3 against teams that qualified for NCAA postseason competition.

The 2012 Camel squad recorded the most Big South Conference wins in the program's history this season with 15 victories.  The team's win over High Point in the opening round of the conference tournament was the first postseason victory for the program since a 2008 Atlantic Sun tournament win.

In addition to Brenneman and Sergey, Kyle Holmstrom, Josh Holskey, Erick Gaylord and Frank Zier completed their Camel careers this past season. Holmstrom started 25 games at third base and batted .330 before injuring his knee in the conference opener at Winthrop.

Holskey, a three-year starter as well as CoSIDA academic All-District honoree, also battled the injury bug during the year and batted .286 in 18 games after missing a month of the season with a broken hand.  He was also named third-team Academic All-American, marking the fifth time a Camel baseball player has earned the honor.

Gaylord recorded 18 hits in 49 games in the 2012 season, stealing ten bases for the black and orange.

Zier led the club with eight quality starts and finished with a 4-3 record. Zier tossed a complete game shutout win over Holy Cross on March 5 and also picked up the conference tournament win over HPU after throwing seven innings of four-hit ball in relief.