BUIES CREEK, N.C. – This week Campbell's softball team (12-14) returns home to host the Hampton Inn/Camel Stampede from March 16-17. CU is scheduled to take on North Carolina Central and Drexel twice each during the tournament.
The dates and game times for all the contests on the weekend goes as follows: Drexel vs. North Carolina Central (March 16 – 1:30 p.m.), Campbell vs. North Carolina Central (March 16 – 4 p.m.), Campbell vs. Drexel (March 16 – 6:30 p.m.), North Carolina Central vs. Drexel (March 17 – 11 a.m.), Campbell vs. Drexel (March 17 – 1:30 p.m.) and Campbell vs. North Carolina Central (March 17 – 4 p.m.)
The Camels went 3-3 last week with two victories over Hampton and a win over UNC Wilmington. CU was able to defeated Hampton twice in the team's midweek doubleheader. Freshman Ericka Nesbitt had five hits in the two games against the Pirates. Her four-hits in the second game against Hampton were a career high. Freshman Julia Callicutt threw the first shutout of her career in the team's 8-0 victory over Hampton (3/7). The Camels went 1-3 at the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational. The team struggled to hit the ball and were limited to 13 hits and three runs in the four games. Callicutt pitched well in the tournament. She went 1-2, but had a sparkling 0.75 ERA in 18.2 innings worked. Callicutt was able to throw her second shutout of the week and worked a career-high eight innings in the 2-0 victory over UNC Wilmington (3/10). Fellow rookie Kailey Farmer provided the late-game magic with her walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
CU enters the sixth week of the year ranking highly in Big South in numerous categories. Junior Sarah Forgacs leads the league in doubles (8) and triples (2). She is tied for third in the conference in hits (27), fifth in runs (14), sixth in total bases (39), tied for sixth in stolen bases (6) and 10th in on-base percentage (.438). Freshman Stephanie Jones is second in RBIs (21) and doubles (7. She is tied for third in hits (27), stolen bases (8) and total bases (40) and sixth in runs scored (13). Senior Taylor McGee is second in total bases (42), third in home runs (5), RBIs (18) and doubles (6). She is also eighth in the conference in hits (21). Sophomore Raven Lee is second in home runs (6), tied for third in walks (13) and total bases (40), fourth in slugging (.615), tied for fourth in RBIs (14), fifth in on-base percentage (.438) and tied for ninth in hits (20). Freshman Kerstine Womack ranks third in the league in runs scored (15). Junior Brittany Arnn is tied for second in shutouts (2) and complete games (8). Arnn is third in innings pitched (67.2) and games started (11). She is also fourth in wins (5), tied for fourth in appearances (13) and strikeouts (42). Senior Christina Melton is fifth in strikeouts (35). Freshman Julia Callicutt is second in opponent batting average (.199), tied for second in shutouts (2), third in ERA (2.01).
North Carolina Central (1-22) has lost 21 in a row. The Eagles' win this season came against UNC Wilmington in a 6-4 victory during the team's split first series of the season. Senior Nadia Moreta had three RBIs in that game. NCCU has been playing better and have lost the team's last five games by a combined total of 17 runs. Shakemia Edwards leads the team with eight RBIs and has 12 hits. Cember Carmichael has scored nine runs with 17 hits and a .304 batting average. Sarah Kaiser has 16 hits and is hitting .262. North Carolina Central is coached by former Campbell assistant Theresa Stephens, who is in her first year of being in charge of the program. The Camels defeated North Carolina Central by scores of 9-1 and 12-1 earlier this season and are 9-0 all-time against NCCU. Senior Taylor McGee continued to torment the Eagles pitching staff with two more home runs and five RBIs this year. McGee has six career home runs and 21 RBIs in nine career games against the Eagles. Fellow senior Christina Melton also had a big doubleheader for the Camels against the Eagles. She had two home runs and five RBIs as a hitter. She also threw a one-hitter from the circle. She is 3-0 all-time against the Eagles with 24 strikeouts in her 14 innings worked.
Drexel (6-10) has won three of the team's last six games including a win over Campbell's Big South rival Presbyterian by a 6-5 score last weekend. Jenn Reading has been the team's top hitter and is hitting .325 with 13 hits, seven runs, two home runs and seven RBIs. She also has walked 10 times. Paige Collings already has six doubles plus a team-high eight RBIs. Shelby Taylor has been the top pitcher with her three wins and 2.62 ERA. She also has 28 strikeouts in 40 innings worked. Hillary Allen has been the other workhorse with 40 innings worked, 29 strikeouts, three wins and three complete games. The Camels lead the series with the Dragons by a 3-0. The teams last met last season with CU coming away with a 10-7 victory at the Hampton Inn Tournament to open the season in Buies Creek. Raven Lee hit her first career home run in her first career game against the Dragons. Melton had three hits including a home run and three RBIs last season against Drexel.
After this weekend's action, the Camels begin Big South Conference play and head to Rock Hill, S.C. for a single game against Winthrop on Thursday, March 22, at 6 p.m.