BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Jack Crittenberger's pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning rallied Charleston Southern to a 3-2 win in the series finale as the Buccaneers swept Campbell on Saturday at Perry Stadium. The Bucs used a seven-run outburst in the third inning of game one to grab 9-5 win in the afternoon.
Crittenberger's two-run blast off of reliever Cole Hallum rallied the Bucs from a 2-1 deficit. An error by Campbell second baseman Austin Beard with two outs kept the inning and CSU's chances alive.
CSU (19-18, 9-6 Big South) took advantage of six Campbell (25-15, 8-10) errors in Saturday's doubleheader – and 10 in the series – to move its win streak to seven games.
The Bucs have now won six straight Big South games. The win moves the Bucs into a tie for fourth in the Big South standings with still two home series remaining.
"We made it a goal prior to last weekend's series," Lake said. "Let's get in tournament comfortably and feeling good about ourselves. We've got a big home series coming up and need to play well against a good Winthrop team. We need to keep our momentum going."
CSU's two Saturday starters set the tone. Evan Raynor (W, 4-3) held Campbell to only two runs until the seventh inning, pitching effectively with a big lead. In the finale, Kyle McDorman gave up one earned run, working into the seventh to set up the late heroics. Reliever Denis Buckley (W, 2-2) followed up a save on Friday with a two scoreless innings to get the win on Saturday.
"Coming into the weekend, we wanted to see where we stand," CSU head coach Stuart Lake said. "This is a tough environment against a team that's had a lot of success. I'm proud of the way our guys performed. The dramatic home run was huge and gets the attention, but we had a chance in all three games because of our starting pitching. We really pitched well. Our starters just seemed in starters control."
"A couple of guys carried us in ways that don't show up in the box score," Lake added. "Cole Murphy was outstanding defensively at shortstop and Sam Remick. He caught 27 innings in about 27 hours, and to work and play the way he did is hard to do. We don't win all three games without him back there defensively."
Senior Chase Shelton had three hits on the day to push his career number to 254, one shy of CSU's career record of 255, set by Nick Chinners (2008-2011). He passed former teammate Alex Tomasovich (253 career hits) for second on the all-time list on Saturday.
GAME 1 – CSU 9, Campbell 5
Nate Blanchard had two hits and a three-run double as the Bucs scored seven runs in the third inning to rally from an early 2-0 deficit in game one. CSU batted around in the third to build an early lead for starter Evan Raynor (W, 4-3).
The Bucs took advantage of four Campbell errors in the win, scoring seven unearned runs. CSU piled up 13 hits and had four in the decisive third, led by Blanchard's bases-loaded double..
CSU extended its lead to 9-2 in the fourth on a two-run double by Brian Dye. Andrew Widell drew a leadoff walk and Chase Shelton added a one-out single ahead of Dye's big swing.
Raynor worked 6.1 innings, scattering 11 hits and five runs, pitching effectively with a big lead. Jon Piriz worked a scoreless final 2.1 innings to hold down any thoughts of a Campbell rally.
Second baseman Kevin Hickey was 3-for-3 with an RBI double in the third to spark the bottom of the Bucs' order. He also drew a walk and scored a run.
Dye and Shelton each had two hits for the Bucs. Blanchard finished 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.
Kyle Prats was a perfect 4-for-4 and scored twice to lead Campbell, who also had 13 hits as a team.
The Camels chipped back into the game with three runs in the seventh to cut the lead to 9-5 on an RBI single by Austin Beard, but Piriz came on to strike out Brian Taylor to end the threat.
Game 2 – CSU 3, Campbell 2
Charleston Southern's Jack Crittenberger delivered a pinch hit two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Bucs to a 3-2 win and a three-game sweep of Campbell on Saturday at Jim Perry Stadium.
CSU was down to its final out against Campbell's Cole Hallum before Robbie Streett reached on an error to keep the Bucs alive. Crittenberger stepped to the plate as the go-ahead run and was down to his final strike before driving a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence to vault CSU into the lead.
Denis Buckley (W, 2-1) put the finishing touches on the Bucs' seventh straight win and second consecutive Big South sweep. Campbell put runners at first and second in its half of the ninth but Buckley caught Steven Leonard looking at a called strike three to punctuate the win. Bucs' catcher Sam Remick helped Buckley's cause with an excellent throw to second base to cut down James Moody as part of a strike out, throw out double play earlier in the frame.
Crittenberger's game-winning blast was one of only two extra-base hits in a game that was a pitcher's duel virtually the whole way. CSU and Campbell each scored a run in the first inning, and the score stood there until the Fighting Camels took a short-lived lead thanks to a Buckley wild pitch in the eighth.
Buckley struck out three over two innings in working around a pair of hits and two walks. Hallum (L, 0-1) was saddled with his first loss of the year after failing to preserve his eighth save of the campaign.
CSU received yet another strong starting pitching performance, with senior Kyle McDorman authoring 6.1 innings of one-run ball. McDorman pitched effectively to contact and kept Campbell off the scoreboard following a first inning marker. The Camels' Nick Thayer was just as good, yielding only a run on seven hits over 7.1 frames.
Kyle Prats scored the go-ahead run for Campbell with two outs in the eighth after reaching on a walk. Hallum, who started the game in right field, led the Camels offensively with two hits.
Chase Shelton cracked an RBI single to plate the Bucs' first inning run. Chris Singleton had a two-out single in that frame as well, and finished 2-for-4.
CSU plays at The Citadel on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Joe Riley Park, before hosting Furman on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at CSU Ballpark.