Softball Heads To Big South Tournament This Week
BUIES CREEK, N.C. – This week Campbell's softball team (29-27, 12-9 Big South Conference) will open the Big South Tournament as the fourth seed and take on Gardner-Webb in the first game of the Big South Tournament presented by Musco Sports Lighting and Brookwood Farms BBQ on Thursday, May 7, at RU Softball Stadium on the campus of Radford University at 9 a.m.
The winner of the Campbell/Gardner-Webb matchup will face off against the winner of Radford (32-18, 16-5 BSC)/Winthrop (16-37, 3-18 BSC), on May 11th at 11:30 a.m. The loser of the Campbell/Gardner-Webb game plays an elimination game on May 10th at 7 p.m. against the loser of Radford/Winthrop matchup.
Campbell won the Atlantic Sun Tournament two of its final four years in the league (2008 and 2009) and secured berths in the NCAA Tournament in each of those seasons. The program finished third at the A-Sun Tournament last season. This is the first year that Campbell will play in the Big South Softball Tournament since leaving the conference following the 1994 season. The Camels have an all-time record of 35-25 in conference tournaments between the games in the Atlantic Sun and Big South. The Camels are 12-10 in Big South Tournament games dating back to when the program was in the league from 1987-1994.
The Camels won the team's fourth consecutive series in taking two of three games against Presbyterian over the weekend. The Camels fell in the first game 4-3 on a late seventh inning home run, but won the last two contests by scores of 3-1 and 8-0. Senior Christina Melton threw the second game and made Senior Day memorable for all that attended. She set new career-highs and tied school records with her 10 innings pitched and 12 strikeouts. Fellow senior Taylor McGee provided the late-game heroics with her two-run walk-off home run in the 10th inning. The home run was also the record breaking 41st of her career. McGee added a home run to the school-record with her solo blast in the series finale. Freshman Julia Callicutt was the story of the series clincher in throwing a two-hit shutout. The shutout was her team-leading third of the season.
For her outstanding efforts on the weekend McGee was named the Big South's Player of the Week for the second consecutive week on May 7. McGee hit .567 with five hits, five RBIs, two home runs, a double, a 1.333 slugging percentage, two walks, 12 total bases and an on-base percentage of .636 in the team's three games. She is just the fourth Campbell player to ever earn multiple player of the week honors by a conference office in the same season following Denelle Hicks (twice in 1995 by the Big South), Shannon O'Bryan (three times by the Atlantic Sun in 2001) and Katie Hinton (twice in 2011 by the Atlantic Sun).
CU finished the 14th week of the season and the regular season ranking highly in the Big South in numerous individual categories. Stephanie Jones is the league leader with her 45 RBIs and tied for the conference lead with her 13 doubles. She is third in the league in hits (60) and total bases (93). Jones is fifth in stolen bases (14), sixth in batting average (.347) and slugging percentage (.538). Freshman Ericka Nesbitt leads the conference in hits (66). She is second in batting average (.393), runs scored (38) and stolen bases (22). Nesbitt is also third in sacrifice bunts (12) and fourth in on-base percentage (.449). Junior Sarah Forgacs is tied for third in doubles (10), tied fourth in triples (2) and in getting hit by a pitch (6). Sophomore Raven Lee is tied for fourth in home runs (10), tied for fifth in walks (26), RBIs (31) and slugging percentage (.538) plus seventh in on-base percentage (.420) and ninth in total bases (77). McGee is third in home runs (11), slugging percentage (.588), RBIs (36). She is fourth in total bases (90), tied for fifth in doubles (10). Freshman Kailey Farmer ranks seventh in the league in home runs (7). Sophomore Olivia Scarborough is fourth in ERA (2.15), fifth in innings pitched a game (4.96), seventh in opponent batting average (.236), tied for ninth in wins (9) and 10th in complete games (8). Callicutt is third in opposing batting average (.216) and tied for fifth in shutouts (3). Junior Brittany Arnn is tied for eighth in shutouts (2) and ninth in complete games (9). Melton is fifth in strikeouts a game (5.25), tied for sixth in innings pitched a contest (4.62) and ninth in opponent batting average (.242)
Campbell leads the conference in batting average (.280), hits (392), doubles (69) and total bases (591). The team is second in the league in slugging percentage (.422), on-base percentage (.359), runs batted in (211), hit by pitches (31), stolen bases (77) and innings pitched (365.0). The Camels rank third in opposing batting average (.238) and fourth in wins (29).
The Camels also rank fifth nationally in double plays per game (0.52) and 48th in stolen bases per contest (1.38). Nesbitt is 66th nationally in stolen bases per game (0.39) and 69th in batting average (.393). Jones is 104th in runs batted in per game (0.80), 153rd in doubles per game (0.23) and 269th in batting average (.347). McGee is 132ndd in home runs per game (0.20) and 186thh in slugging percentage (.588). Callicutt is 121st in ERA (2.23) and 282ndd in strikeouts per seven innings (4.4). Lee is 183rd in home runs a game, 228th in walks (0.47) and 282nd in slugging percentage (.554).
Gardner-Webb (25-26, 11-10 Big South) had last weekend off and last played softball games with its three contests against Radford from April 28-29. The Runnin' Bulldogs won the first game 4-1 over RU, but then lost the last two games to the Highlanders to drop the series. GWU has a balanced offensive attack with four players with 20+ RBIs. Samantha Meenaghan leads the offensive charge for GWU. Meenaghan is the current leader in the Big South in batting average (.395). She ranks second in the league in hits (64) and tied for third in the conference in runs scored (32). Meenaghan has also chipped in a pair of home runs and 17 RBIs. McKenzie Morenus leads the team with her five home runs, 27 RBIs and 22 walks .Amanda Gomes and Savannah Burns have driven in 23 runs each. Morgan Baker has also topped the 20 RBI mark and has driven in 21 on her 36 hits and eight doubles this season. Cindy Boomhower is the top pitcher for Gardner-Webb. Boomhower leads the squad with her 10 wins, four saves and 72 strikeouts. Jessica Childers has won eight games with a 2.83 ERA and seven complete games. Gardner-Webb is tied for second in the conference in sacrifice bunts (46), third in batting average (.266) and on-base percentage (.337), fourth in hits (344) and fifth in slugging percentage (.356) and triples (7). The Runnin' Bulldogs lead the all-time series with Campbell by an 11-9 count including a pair of wins over CU earlier this season in Boiling Springs, N.C. Farmer provided the game-winning RBIs for Campbell in the victory this season with her two-run double in the fourth inning.