CSU travels to Campbell to continue Big South Conference play this weekend

CSU travels to Campbell to continue Big South Conference play this weekend

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern continues Big South Conference play this weekend as the Buccaneers travel to Buies Creek, N.C. and Jim Perry Stadium for a three-game series starting Friday night at 6 p.m. The Bucs and Camels will continue with a 3 p.m. start on Saturday, while Sunday's series finale is set for a 2 p.m. start time.

Fans will be able to listen to all three games via Camels Live Audio!, while links to live stats for all three games are available on CSUSports.com. Live updates will also be provided on the CSU Game Day Twitter feed: @CSUGameDay

CSU Game Notes at Campbell*

Probable Starters
Friday: RHP Nik Constantakos (1-1, 3.56 ERA) vs. RHP Allan Winans (2-2, 6.10 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Kyle Dyson (1-0, 4.09 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Yarem (1-0, 4.55 ERA)
Sunday: TBD vs. RHP Ryan Kirk (3-2, 4.85 ERA)

Leading Off

  • Jason Miller (15) and Kyle Vesnesky (12) became the third and fourth Buccaneers to achieve double-digit on-base streaks in the 2017 season with the duo joining Michael Sconzo (11) and Brandon Gragilla (10) this year.
  • Vesnesky has reached base in 19 of the 20 games he has played in this season and enters the contest having reached base in 12 consecutive contests.
  • The CSU pitching staff struck out the side for the fourth time this weekend as Kyle Dyson retired five in a row, including three straight in the fifth inning against Liberty. Three of those occasions happened this past week with Daniel Johnson striking out a trio on Friday and Cody Smith achieving the mark on Wednesday against South Carolina.
  • Fridays continue to remain unkind for the Buccaneers in the 2017 season as CSU fell to 0-5 in on the first day of the weekend this past week against Liberty. Inversely, the Bucs are 5-0 on Sundays following their 11-4 win over the Flames at the Ballpark.
  • Charleston Southern bounced back from their longest losing streak of the season winning two of their last three with wins over Liberty and Savannah State this past week.
  • The Buccaneers' pitching staff tied a season-high with 14 strikeouts on Wednesday night against Savannah State. It was CSU's seventh double-digit strikeout performance of the 2017 season and matched the mark set by the Bucs on February 26 against Virginia Commonwealth in the Bucs' 4-2 series finale win over the Rams.
  • Charleston Southern has posted a strong 11-4 record at home at the CSU Ballpark in the 2017 season, but CSU has struggled away from its friendly confines. The Bucs are 2-6 away from home this season and have dropped four of their past five. CSU's lone win during the stretch game in extra innings in the Bucs' 8-7 10 inning win at Longwood.

About the Camels
Campbell was picked second in the Big South preseason poll after receiving 81 points and two first place votes overall. The Camels are coming off of a 26-27 season and a 13-11 mark in Big South Conference play. Campbell was unable to participate in the Big South Championships last season after serving a one-year, self-imposed postseason suspension.

Bucs against the Camels
The Bucs are 28-28 against Campbell according to the CSU archives on hand. The Camels took two of three contests at the CSU Ballpark last season with the Bucs winning the middle contest on March 25, 18-7. The CSU victory made former head coach Stuart Lake the Bucs' career Big South wins leader as the Bucs rallied back from a 6-1 deficit with an eight-run fifth inning and nine-run seventh to take the win.

Last Out for Campbell
Campbell has won five of their past six contests, including taking two of three from Gardner-Webb this past weekend and a midweek 15-8 victory at Virginia Tech. The Camels stretch included wins over Richmond, N.C. State, Gardner-Webb (twice), and Virginia Tech. On Tuesday night, the Camels were led by a pair of home runs by both Zach Minnick and Matthew Barefoot in the win at Blacksburg.

Who to Watch For
Freshman Matthew Barefoot leads the Camels offense with a .424 batting average. He has a team-high 42 hits, 12 doubles, seven home runs, and 30 RBI in the 2017 season to pace a high-powered Campbell team. Kyle Mehl (.362) and Jeff Hahs (.356) are both hitting over .350 on the season, while Drew Butler has led the team with a team-high 22 stolen bases and 26 runs scored. Ryan Kirk (3-2) and Tyson Messer (3-1) lead the Camels' pitching staff with a team-high three wins apiece.

Errors plague Bucs in midweek loss to USC Upstate
Defensive miscues came back to haunt Charleston Southern on Tuesday night in Lexington County Baseball Stadium as the Buccaneers fell in their midweek matchup against USC Upstate, 10-2. CSU's defense struggled on the night with five errors, three coming in the top of the sixth that led to four Upstate runs as the Spartans tied up the season series against CSU. The Bucs had previously won the first matchup against the Spartans at the CSU Ballpark back on March 1, 4-3.

Bucs hold off late Savannah State rally
Charleston Southern utilized a strong first inning and solid pitching from the bullpen to hold off a late Savannah State rally on Wednesday night at the CSU Ballpark in the Bucs' 7-5 win. Daniel Johnson picked up the win in an extended relief appearance on Wednesday evening. The junior left-hander recorded five strikeouts in 2.1 innings of action on his way to quelling a Savannah State early rally. The Bucs scored four runs in the first on their way to the non-conference win.

Can't Keep Them Off the Base Paths
Jason Miller and Kyle Vesnesky enter the weekend sporting double-digit on-base streaks as the CSU's left side of the infield has been a consistent source of offense for the Bucs in the 2017 season. Miller has reached base in 15 straight games and sports a team-best five-game hitting streak in the longest on-base streak of the season. Vesnesky has reached base in 19 of the 20 games he has played in 2017 with the junior shortstop sporting a 12 game on-base streak entering the weekend. The lone contest Vesnesky was held off the base paths was on March 9 against FIU.

 

Dyson Strikes Again
Redshirt Senior Kyle Dyson will be sporting a five consecutive strikeout streak when he takes the ball for the Buccaneers on Saturday afternoon at Perry Stadium. The Hanahan, S.C. native struck out the final two batters in the Liberty top of the fourth on March 26, and then set three down swinging in the top of the fifth before being lifted for the CSU bullpen to start the sixth. Dyson recorded a season-high seven strikeouts in the game against the Flames on his way to recording his first win of the 2017 season.

Johnson Finds His Groove
Daniel Johnson has been nearly untouchable in his past four relief appearances as the junior left-hander has been one of the top performers out of the bullpen for CSU interim head coach Adam Ward. Johnson struck out the side in the sixth against liberty on March 24 and has recorded 13 strikeouts in his last 6.1 innings of action. The left-hander slowly rounded back into shape coming out of the bullpen and has recorded five strikeouts in each of his past two appearances, including his first win of the season on March 29 against Savannah State.

Fridays are Unkind
Charleston Southern is currently winless in series openers on Fridays in the 2017 season having dropped the late-week contests against Delaware State,  Virginia Commonwealth, Longwood, and Liberty. The Buccaneers rallied back to win the final two games against DSU and VCU while taking the final game in the series against the Lancers, FIU, and Liberty.

Fireman of the Year
Cody Smith has already asserted himself as one of the top relievers in the Big South Conference with the junior right-hander pacing the Buccaneers with six saves on the season. Smith has recorded 13.0 innings pitched on the season with a 21:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a team-high 13 appearances.

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