Campbell claims Big South baseball crown

·2 min read

May 29—HIGH POINT — At the end of a tournament filled with offense, relief pitching helped save Campbell.

After their bullpen held Charleston Southern to just one run in two bases-loaded situations late in the deciding game Saturday at Truist Point, the Camels (40-17) escaped with a 3-2 victory and took the program's third Big South tournament title in four seasons.

It completed a run of four elimination game victories for the Camels, who forced the deciding game by defeating the Bucs 10-6 in a contentious first game Saturday. Charleston Southern entered the final day of the double elimination tournament undefeated.

The Camels led 3-1 in the second game when Charleston Southern loaded the bases on a single and two walks with one out against starter and winner Aaron Rund. Jake Murray replaced Rund and allowed a ground ball which allowed what proved to be the Bucs final run to score. Murray then forced another groundout to end the inning.

In the seventh with two on, Cade Kuehler, who threw 103 pitches on Friday, allowed a single to load the bases that forced a bouncer, resulting in an inning-ending double play on Kuehler throw to the plate for a force out and then a relay to first.

The Bucs didn't threaten in the last two innings against Cameron O'Brien.

The tournament title gives Campbell an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Camels never trailed in the deciding game. Tournament MVP Zach Neto smashed a two-run homer to left in the first. Neto batted .438 with six RBIs for the tournament and also helped pitch in a Camels win on Friday.

Charleston Southern never found the offense it displayed in rolling through its first three games of the tournament and finally got on the board in the third on an RBI double.Campbell scored what proved to be the winning run in the fifth when Lawson Harrill put down a squeeze bunt in front of the plate and Tyler Halstead slid across the plate before a tag could be applied.

The low-scoring second game was a sharp contrast to a wild and wooly first game in which Campbell overcame a 1-0 deficit as it sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in a first inning that included two hits (one a three-run homer by Connor Denning just over the top of the wall in center), two wild pitches (one that scored a run), four walks and two errors (both resulting in runs) and a hit batter.

Two runs that scored on wild pitches increased Campbell's lead to 8-2 in the third. Charleston South closed the margin to 8-5 with a run in the eight. The Camels responded with two in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly.