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Opponent Preview: Campbell

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Meet the Camels... A team punching well in the early going

GoPack.com, Photo by Larry Kave

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Campbell

Mascot: Camels | School Location: Buies Creek, NC | Conference: Big South

2019 Record: 5-2 (0-0, T-1st) | 2018 RPI Rank:125

2018 Record: 35-26 (21-6*, 1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: 109

2017 Record: 25-32 (10-14, 8th) | 2017 RPI Rank: 220

*2018 Big South Regular Season and Tournament Champions


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Jim Perry Stadium (Buies Creek, NC)

Game Time(s): Wednesday, Feb 27 @ 5:00pm

TV: ESPN+ / WatchESPN ($)

Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh, GoPack All-Access

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

First, let’s take a look at what was said about Coastal from our 2019 Season Preview:

Campbell is a team that took a while to hit its stride last year, then got hot at the end and rode that wave to a Big South Tournament championship. RS-JR OF/LHP Matthew Barefoot (.364/.484/.585, 18 2B, 8 HR, 23 HBP, 33 SB), SO C Ty Babin (.255/.349/.315, 3 3B, 6 SB), SR 1B/3B Tyler Anshaw (.245/.352/.364, 11 2B, 9 SB, 16 SAC - JT Jarrett is unimpressed), SR SS Louis Giminez (.242/.333/.295, 23 SB), and SR C Zach Minnick (.222/.296/.359, 9 2B, 6 HR) all return to the starting lineup. The Camels will have to replace a lot of production, though, including power-hitting 2B Christian Jones and his 20 HR, as well as Jeff Hahs. SR RHP Michael Horrell (6-4, 3.75 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .256 OBA) is the only returning player with substantial starting pitching experience. Barefoot is a candidate for an expanded role pitching, with a starting gig not out of the question. SR RHP Tyson Messer (0-2, 8 SV, 4.72 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 191 OBA) is the lone returning bullpen member who has produced at a high level. Even with Messer returning, the bullpen will have to replace its top two arms in Harry Thomas (graduation) and Logan Bender (transfer). Bender, an NC State signee currently at Catawba Valley CC, was the 2018 Big South Freshman-of-the-Year winner, a 1st Team All-Big South member, and Freshman All-American last year. To counter the major losses in production both in the lineup and on the mound, the Camels brought in a whopping 15 JUCO transfers this year.

For those keeping score at home, this is the third of the last four NC State opponents that won their conference tournament championship a year ago. Not too shabby in the ol’ scheduling department.

Campbell is off to a good start to their 2019 season, with a record that I predicted they would have at this juncture... only with one win coming in a different spot. The Camels opened the season in the Brittain Resorts Invitational in Conway, SC, (the first of three - three!! - tournaments that Coastal Carolina is hosting this season) where they beat Maryland and lost to VCU and Coastal. They then had a walk-off midweek win in a home contest versus #9 East Carolina, which was followed by a home sweep of Georgetown.

The win over ECU is, obviously, the feather in the Camels hat to this point of the season, but the Pirates were without the services of two of their best players in that game, both out with injury: All-American OF Bryant Packard and All-AAC 1B Spencer Brickhouse. Either of those players likely swings that game in the other direction.

Don’t be mistaken, though, this Campbell team is a well-coached group that is capable of taking down bigger teams. In that win over ECU, Junior RHP Seth Johnson held the Pirates to one hit over four innings, while seven of nine Campbell starters recorded hits on the day. Timely hitting throughout the lineup and solid pitching will deliver a heck of a lot of wins.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: RHP Seth Johnson (JR)


Key Players:

Offense

LF Matthew Barefoot (RS-JR) - .346 BA, .472 OBP, .462 SLG, 26 AB, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 8 R, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 6-8 SB (2018 stats: .363 BA, .484 OBP, .585 SLG, 217 AB, 18 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 58 R, 32 RBI, 30 BB, 38 K, 33-38 SB). Barefoot is an incredibly dangerous hitter who I can’t believe is still on campus, going undrafted a year ago. Dude can hit for average, power, and he can steal bases. Barefoot also pitches for Campbell, but that’s not his strength.

2B Collin Wolf (JR) - .350 BA, .552 OBP, .700 SLG, 20 AB, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 R, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 5 K, 2-3 SB. Wolf is one of Campbell’s 15 JUCO transfers - and he’s hit the ground running.

SS Luis Gimenez (SR) - .346 BA, .485 OBP, .346 SLG, 26 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 R, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 4 K, 3-4 SB (2018 stats: .242 BA, .333 OBP, .295 SLG, 207 AB, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 31 R, 17 RBI, 18 BB, 23 K, 23-27 SB). The former JUCO All-American is off to a solid start to his second year in Buies Creek. Not much of a power-hitter, Gimenez doesn’t strikeout much and, like Barefoot, can swipe a bag in a hurry.

Pitching

RHP Seth Johnson (JR) - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, .077 OBA, 33.3 K%, 13.3 BB%, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Johnson is a JUCO transfer from Louisburg College where he didn’t pitch until his sophomore year, and even then only threw 6.0 innings. Coming out of high school, Johnson was a prospect as a middle infielder, but the Camels might have struck gold if he pitches like he did in his D1 debut. Johnson has a fastball that can get up to 96 mph.

RHP Landry Moore (JR) - 1-0, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, .059 OBA, 20.0 K%, 15.0 BB%, 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. (2018 stats @ Barton: 3-3, 5.01 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, .289 OBA, 21.2 K%, 8.3 BB%, 32.1 IP, 37 H, 25 R, 18 ER, 13 BB, 33 K) Transfer from Division II Barton College in Wilson, NC, where he was the Bulldog’s top reliever a year ago.

RHP Jonathan Tyler (RS-JR) - 0-0, 1 SV, 1.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .235 OBA, 27.3 K%, 22.7 BB%, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. A big 6’5, 240 lbs JUCO transfer from California who started his college career at UC Santa Barbara. Like Johnson, Tyler was considered more of a fielding (OF)/hitting prospect than a pitching prospect.

RHP Tyson Messer (SR) - 1-0, 0 SV, 7.36 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, .308 OBA, 30.0 K%, 35.0 BB%, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, 6 K. (2018 stats: 0-2, 8 SV, 4.72 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, .191 OBA, 21.7 K%, 21.7 BB%, 26.2 IP, 17 H, 17 R, 14 ER, 28 BB, 28 K). Messer has had a very rough start to his 2019, but he’s the Campbell bullpen’s top returning arm from a year ago, and the staff won’t lose faith in him this quickly. He has very good swing-and-miss stuff, but is also prone to wild streaks that would make Ricky Vaughn blush.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State is 50-16-1 all-time versus Campbell. The Wolfpack won two of the three meetings last year.

Campbell has won the Big South Championship twice in the seven years since they rejoined the conference.

While you expect a team like Campbell to have a lot of local talent (which they do), they also have a significant West Coast flavor to their roster with eight players from decidedly not North Carolina (although all eight are JUCO transfers). Four from California, two from Washington, two from Arizona.


Prediction

Campbell is a pretty battle-tested group... at least as battle-tested as you can get seven games into the season, having already faced teams like Coastal Carolina and East Carolina. This will be a tough out for NC State, especially in Buies Creek where the Camels are 4-0 this year.

The Wolfpack will be throwing their own JUCO transfer in this one; RHP Alec Barger.

Outcome: NC State prevails, getting over the slow starts that have plagued the offense to this point and jumping on Johnson early. Wolfpack wins 7-4.