Baseball Opens Jim Perry Stadium with Eastern Michigan Friday

Michael Felton (photo by Todd Drexler)
Michael Felton (photo by Todd Drexler)

Game Notes | @Camel_Baseball

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell will open the 2013 season and its new home, Jim Perry Stadium, Friday at 2 p.m., taking on Eastern Michigan in a doubleheader. The opener will kick off a three game series with the Eagles, with a single game starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The Fighting Camels broke 10 single season team records in 2012, including a program-best 41 overall wins. Campbell also produced several new program highs with games played (59), at-bats (2038) and sacrifice hits (60), finishing 2012 with a national top-10 team ranking in batting average, runs scored, hits, stolen bases, on-base percentage and hit by pitch.

Individuals established seven new single season marks and one career record, while CU placed three student-athletes on the Big South first team all-conference charts and one member on the second team.

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. The Camels also boasted a 23-3 start and an 18-game winning streak, both marking the best in CU program history.

Amidst their school record 18-game winning streak last season, the Camels began to receive votes in the national polls, including USA Today/ESPN Coaches', NCBWA and College Sports Madness.

Campbell's eventual 18-game winning streak shattered the program's previous best of 12, set by the 1986 Camels. The team was 14-0 in Buies Creek, 4-0 away and 3-0 against conference foes. The streak was the longest in the country at the time, earning the Camels the title of "Southeast Region Team of the Week" by College Baseball Insider.

The bulk of head coach Greg Goff's school-record 41-win squad comes back in 2013 with returning 23 letterwinners, including All-American Michael Felton (.424, 1 HR, 45 RBI, 11 SB), All-Big South performer David Olson (.350, 5 HR, 44 RBI), right-hander Ryan Mattes (4-3, 3.74 ERA, 43.1 IP, 44 SO, 10 saves) and southpaw Matt Marksberry (4-2, 2.97 ERA, 33.1 IP, 35 SO, 2 saves), among others.

Noting the anticipation of this season, the team is already receiving votes in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll, released in December.

The Camels return 13 seniors, put together with 10 juniors, and total 23 returning letterwinners. The Camels return a sizable portion of its offensive production from a year ago with 214 of 410 runs, 388 of 410 hits, 198 of 352 RBI and 55 of 115 stolen bases.

EMU posted a 25-31 overall record last season with a 14-13 mark in the Mid-American Conference, and return six starting position players from 2012. The Eagles also bring back 11 pitchers, including Neil Butara (3.84 ERA, 4-5, 79.2 IP, 58 SO) and Steve Weber (5.08 ERA, 7-5, 95.2 IP, 62 SO). Lee Longo, batted .297 with three home runs, nine doubles and 30 RBI last season, leads EMU, while Sam Ott adds a .293 average, 15 doubles, 35 RBI and 30 runs scored.

The Camels' new ballpark is named for the 1970 Cy Young Award winner, Jim Perry, who attended Campbell from 1956-59. He then went on to play professional baseball for 17 years in the American League after signing with the Cleveland Indians organization.

During his career, he won 215 games while striking out 1,576 batters in 3,286 innings. He also hurled 32 shutouts and compiled a 3.45 ERA.

Jim Perry Stadium features total permanent seating for 630, including 310 chair-backed seats, plus bleacher-backs and disability access. The new grandstand spans nearly from dugout to dugout.

Campbell will officially dedicate Jim Perry Stadium on Tuesday, March 26 against Duke.

After the opening series, the Camels will travel to nearby Greenville, N.C. for an in-state matchup at East Carolina. The game will be the first of a home-and-home series with the Pirates returning to Buies Creek on March 13.