Campbell wins Big South Tournament, earns NCAA berth for second straight season
Sometimes the secret to success lies beyond the box score. This is not one of those times. Campbell University slugged its way to a Big South Conference Tournament championship behind the brute force of its bats, plating 41 runs in a three-day stretch in Fayetteville. Eight was enough on Saturday, as the Camels dispatched Winthrop in the Championship Game, 8-6.
“Oh man, we felt like we were on-time for everything,” said Matthew Barefoot, Campbell outfielder. “We had a great scouting report, everyone was able to execute, and it’s really fun to play when all of our guys are doing that.”
Campbell fell behind early against the Eagles and found themselves down 4-1 at one point. Winthrop could only keep the bats cool for so long though, as Matthew Barefoot, Tyler Anshaw, and Luis Giminez all went yard for the Camels (35-19). Barefoot finished 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, catcher Zach Minnick added another RBI with his 3-for-4 day, and Tournament MVP Koby Collins went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Campbell earns the Big South Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking the first time in school history that the university will make back-to-back appearances in the field of 64.
“It means we’ve got the right guys in our program,” said Campbell head coach, Justin Haire. “When you build a program, when you build something from the ground up, which is what we’ve been doing since 2007 when we first got here, you’ve got to start with the right people.”
“I think it’s just the grit we have,” said Zach Minnick, Camels catcher. “We have a lot of Ju-Co guys, a lot of four-year guys that have really been through the ringer, and we just hate to lose.”
Campbell departs SEGRA Stadium with a little less than 48 hours to celebrate before finding out its NCAA Tournament destination. The bracket will be revealed on Monday, May 27 at noon. Regional play will begin on Friday, May 31.