BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Ben Calvano doubled, tripled and drove in three to lead Campbell in a 9-4 win over Longwood Thursday at Jim Perry Stadium.
With the series opening win, Campbell clinched a spot in next week's Big South Championship in Lexington, S.C.
The Camels moved to 24-29 overall and 9-13 in Big South play, while Longwood dropped to 18-33 on the season and 6-16 in league games.
With Longwood up 2-1 after a two-run top of the third, Calvano ripped a two out, 3-2 pitch off the top of the left field wall, scoring Zach Minnick and tying the game at 2-2.
Two innings later, the senior from Kansas City, Mo. tripled down the left field line after Jeff Hahs reached on a two out Longwood error and Minnick walked. Both scored to give Campbell a 4-2 lead.
Three Campbell hits and three Lancer errors led to a five-run eighth for the Camels. Calvano led off the inning with an infield single, scoring on the second Longwood error of the frame. Drew Butler also picked up a two-run triple, scoring on a Matthew Barefoot RBI single to highlight the inning, putting Campbell up 9-2.
Longwood scratched two runs across in the top of the ninth with a Carlos Garrido sacrifice fly and a Sammy Miller RBI single, but a pop out on the infield ended the rally.
Allan Winans (4-6) earned the win, working 6 2/3 innings with two runs, one earned, on six hits with a strikeout and a walk. Harry Thomas picked up the save, his second on the season, pitching 2 1/3 innings with two runs on three hits with a strikeout and three walks.
Cody Wager (4-5) was charged with the loss, allowing four runs, two earned, on eight hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Calvano was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run for the Camels in the win, coming up just a home run shy of the cycle. Hahs was 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run, while Kyle Mehl went 2-for-3. Minnick also scored twice for CU.
Sammy Miller and Antwaun Tucker both drove in runs and picked up a pair of hits for the Lancers.
Game two of the series is set for a 3 p.m. Friday.
The Big South Baseball Championship begins May 23 in Lexington, S.C. at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium.