CHARLESTON, S.C. – Stuart Lake didn't downplay the importance of the series ahead for the Buccaneers. When asked if Charleston Southern's Big South series at Campbell this weekend is a "measuring stick" for his team, the Bucs' head coach didn't hesitate, "no question (it is)."
CSU opens a three-game series at Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C. on Friday night. First pitch is at 6 p.m.
NOTE: Sunday's game game has been moved to Saturday due to threat of rain. Saturday's DH will begin at 2 p.m.
CSU (16-18, 6-6 Big South), which has won four-straight games, trails Campbell (25-12, 8-7) by a half game for fourth in the Big South standings. The Bucs are tied with High Point for fifth and are looking to continue bounding up the standings after a sweep of Gardner-Webb a week ago.
"We reached the midway point in conference play last weekend, and it felt good to get back into the mix at 6-6," Lake said. "Campbell is a good team and has been for a couple of years now. The weekend will be a good test to find out where we are."
Starting pitching in Big South play has been a big reason the Bucs have stayed in contention with May approaching. Weekend starters LHP Andrew Tomasovich (1.95), RHP Evan Raynor (2.03), and RHP Kyle McDorman (1.93) are all listed in the top eight in the Big South in ERA in league play. Raynor, after a rain-delayed complete game last week, is one of three pitchers with two CGs in Big South play this season.
"This has been a hard, cold season for everyone with the weather we've had," Lake said. "We feel like we've finally got a lineup. It was fun last weekend writing the same lineup a few days in a row. Our starting pitching has been really strong in conference play. They give us a chance to win every game on the weekend."
Tomasovich leads the Big South averaging 10.3 strikeouts per game. As a team, CSU is No. 3 nationally at 9.6 Ks per game.
After a week of batting over .500, senior Chase Shelton is officially closing in on the CSU career hits mark. Shelton, who was 4-for-4 in Sunday's 4-3 win over G-W, has 248 career hits. He is currently third on the Bucs' all-time list and needs eight hits to pass Nick Chinners' mark of 255 (2008-2011). Alex Tomasovich is third on the list with 253.
Lake was quick to point out the threat that Shelton has been for four years and that his body of work (46 career doubles, 12 home runs, 130 RBI) speaks for itself.
"Coming in here as a freshman he was a guy that immediately in the lineup," Lake said. "To be here his senior year, and to have an impact in the middle of the order for all four years, I would be very proud to see him get that record."
Campbell is at home in Big South play for the first weekend since late March. The Camels opened April with a sweep at Presbyterian, before losing 2-of-3 at home last weekend to Liberty.
Campbell leads the Big South in batting average at .297 and in team ERA at 3.17. Friday starter Heath Bowers (6-2) has won his last two Big South starts.