BUIES CREEK, N.C. – This week Campbell's softball team (9-11) returns home for a brief two-game midweek homestand before hitting the road to participate in the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational over the weekend. The Camels start the week with a doubleheader against Hampton on March 7 starting at 3 p.m. CU then travels to Rock Hill, S.C. with games against Albany (March 9 at noon), Bowling Green (March 9 at 4 p.m.), St. John's (March 10 at 1 p.m.) and UNC Wilmington (March 10 at 5 p.m.) on the docket.
The Camels went 2-3 last weekend at the Lipton Invitational held at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. CU started the week with a 6-1 loss to Tennessee State. The highlight of the game for CU was freshman Stephanie Jones' first career home run. The Camels then defeated Eastern Michigan by a 5-0 score. Junior Brittany Arnn threw her second shutout of the season in blanking the Eagles. Sophomore Raven Lee launched her fifth home run of the season to aid Campbell to the victory. The Camels then took on Eastern Michigan for the second time in the tournament the following day (March 3). Freshman Julia Callicutt threw her first career complete game in earning her second win of the season. Senior Taylor McGee provided the late game heroics with her two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Camels a thrilling 3-1 triumph. The Camels then fell to Tennessee State by a 3-2 score in the nightcap with McGee hitting another two-run blast in defeat. In the team's final game of the tournament CU fell to No. 3/4 Florida by a 4-0 tally. Arnn pitched well in only allowing four runs to one of the top offenses in the country. Junior Sarah Forgacs had two doubles against the Gators. The Camels were the only team at the tournament that did not get run-ruled by Florida over the weekend. Forgacs led the offensive charge on the week with six hits, three doubles and a triple. McGee blasted two home runs and knocked in four with her four hits. With two home runs on the week she has now hit 36 in her Campbell career and only trails Shannon O'Bryan by four career home runs from tying the all-time school record. McGee also became only the eighth member of CU's softball program to ever reach 100 career RBIs with her four runs-driven in at the tournament. The CU pitching staff deserved a better fate than three losses with a combined team ERA of 1.70 in the weekend games.
CU enters the fifth week of the year ranking highly in Big South in numerous categories. Forgacs leads the league in doubles (7). She is tied for second in the conference in hits (22) and runs (11), sixth in stolen bases (5) and total bases (31) and 10th in on-base percentage (.438). Freshman Stephanie Jones is tied for the lead in stolen bases (7), second in doubles (6), tied for second in hits (22), sixth in total bases (31) and seventh in runs (10). McGee is tied for the lead in runs batted in (16), second in total bases (36), tied for second in home runs (5), tied for third in doubles (5), fourth in slugging (667) and tied for seventh in walks (8) and runs scored (10). Lee is tied for second in the league in home runs (5), tied for third in total bases (33),fourth in walks (11), fifth in slugging (.647), sixth in RBIs (11) and eighth in on-base percentage (.453). Arnn leads the conference in innings pitched (56.2) and complete games (6). She is second in strikeouts (37), tied for second in shutouts (2), third in wins (4), games started (9) and appearances (11). Senior Christina Melton is third in strikeouts (35) and complete games (5), fourth in innings pitched (51.1) and tied for sixth in wins (3).
Hampton (4-9) is riding an eight-game losing streak after falling five times over the weekend at the University of South Florida Tournament. Senior Bre'Anna Brown leads the team with her .333 batting average and four stolen bases. Sophomore Margaret Wilkins has a team-best 11 hits and is tied for the team lead with six RBIs. Junior Carla Trimble also has six RBIs and is tied for the team lead with a home run. She also has four doubles and nine walks. Senior Travonna Byrd leads the squad with her three wins. Freshman Jailynn Jackson has struck out 25 with five complete games this season. CU leads the all-time series with Hampton 6-0. CU defeated the Lady Pirates 12-0 and 16-1 scores last season in Norfolk, Va. Forgacs has four hits in nine career at bats against Hampton. McGee has four hits, five runs scored and three RBIs in four career games against Hampton.
Albany (2-3) has only had the opportunity to play in one tournament this season and they haven't played since Feb. 26. The program has won two games in a row with victories over Jacksonville State and Radford at the Eagles Classic last time out. Albany is the defending American East Champion and are the preseason pick for second in the league after making the NCAA Tournament last season. Sophomore Charlise Castro was named the American East Player of the Week on Feb. 27. She leads the team in most offensive categories including hits (8), runs (5), doubles (3), home runs (2), RBIs (6), batting average (.533), total bases (17), on-base percentage (.563) and slugging percentage (1.133). Sophomore Brittany MacFawn has a 3.60 ERA. Senior Brittany Schwieger leads the team in innings pitched and is second in strikeouts (8). Albany leads the series between the schools 2-0. The last time the schools met was for a tournament game at Winthrop in 2007.
Bowling Green (7-5) has won five of the team's last seven games with the only losses coming to Florida Gulf Coast and Quinnipiac at the Under Armor Invitational over the weekend. Junior Paige Berger leads the team with her .500 batting average and 20 hits. She also has three home runs and 14 RBIs. Katie Yoho has a team-high of five home runs and is tied for lead with 15 RBIs. Hannah Fulk has 11 walks and 13 runs scored on the season. Freshman Paris Imholz has three wins, two shutouts, 44.1 innings pitched and a 1.11 ERA. Sophomore Erin Greenwalt is 2-0 with 10 strikeouts in her 11 innings worked. The Falcons lead the series with Campbell 2-0. The teams last met in 2007 at a tournament hosted by Charleston Southern.
St. John's (3-14) has lost five of the team's last six games. Senior Kristi Cady and sophomore Jackie Reed lead the team with their .358 batting averages. Cady has 19 hits, 12 runs, two home runs and 10 RBIs on the season. Reed also has 19 hits to go along with six doubles and 16 RBIs. Redshirt senior Kacee Cox provides the power with four home runs. Freshman Ellen Czuba has scored 11 runs. Sophomore Ashley Beza has a 3.00 ERA in her 60.1 innings thrown. She also leads the team with her 34 strikeouts. Aleshia Link has won two games and with three complete games on the campaign. CU is 4-0 all-time against the Red Storm including a thrilling 7-6 victory earlier this season at the Red & Black Showcase in Athens, Ga. Nesbitt came up with the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jones had four hits and three RBI in her collegiate debut.
UNC Wilmington (2-11) went 1-2 last week with a loss to North Carolina and a split doubleheader to Presbyterian. Sophomore Daniela Torres is the top hitter with a .360 batting average. Senior Ashley Shingleton has 14 hits, two home runs and five RBIs. Freshman Kristen Jernigan leads the squad with her six RBIs. Senior Amanda Davenport has won both of the team's games with a 3.13 ERA and 50 strikeouts in her 54.2 innings worked. She also has thrown seven complete games. The Seahawks will play a pair of games against North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, March 7, before heading to the tournament. The Camels lead the series with UNCW by a 43-24 count. The teams have met at least twice a season every year since 1997. CU defeated the Seahawks by scores of 4-1 and 2-0 last season in Wilmington. The Camels and UNCW will play again later this season with a doubleheader scheduled for April 18 in Buies Creek.
After this weekend's action, the Camels return home to host the Camel Stampede from March 16-17. CU will welcome in Drexel and North Carolina Central for the tournament with each team playing the others twice.