Campbell moved to 10-12 on the season, while GWU dropped to 10-13 overall in the Big South opener for both teams. The teams combined for 26 hits, with 21 coming before the sixth.
Thomas (1-1) pitched six innings of relief for the win, allowing four hits with three strikeouts. Thomas entered the game with two on and none out, retiring eight of his first nine batters. The junior also sat down 10 of his final 11 batters to close the game.
Campbell starter Allan Winans went three innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Zach Mosay (3-3) took the loss for Gardner-Webb, allowing eight runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks in six innings.
Taylor Goodwin tossed 2 2/3 for the Runnin' Bulldogs, allowing two hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Aaron Stewart retired the only batter he faced.
The Runnin' Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second that included a leadoff home run from Paul Trick.
Campbell's five-run fourth made it 6-3, sending nine Camels to the plate in the inning. Adam Wyse's second RBI of the night, a fielder's choice, was followed by a Matthew Barefoot RBI single to tie the game. Jeff Hahs' RBI groundout gave CU the lead, and Cole Hallum doubled in two more with two out in the inning.
GWU answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, including a leadoff homer from Chandler Redmond, knotting the game at 6-all.
With runners on second and third and two out in the top of the fifth, Barefoot returned the lead back to the Camels with a two-run single to left, making it 8-6 Campbell.
Barefoot went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run. Zach Minnick also picked up three hits, going 3-for-4 with three runs. Hallum and Wyse also knocked in two apiece for the Camels in the win.
Trick paced GWU at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run.
The series concludes with a 2 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.
The Camels will head to Virginia Tech on March 28 before returning to Jim Perry Stadium for their home Big South opener March 31-April 2 against Charleston Southern.