BOILING SPRINGS – Senior righty Devin Campbell fanned a career-high nine batters in 8.0 innings without allowing an earned run, and Gardner-Webb saw eight of its 12 hits go for extra bases in a 12-2 Friday win over UNC Asheville.
Campbell (3-1) has been red-hot over his past two Big South starts, and was sharp again Friday afternoon. The Greenville, S.C., native – who passed for 5,614 yards and 39 touchdowns as Gardner-Webb’s quarterback during his football career – has forged a 2-0 record, 2.25 ERA and 15 strikeouts (four walks) in 16.0 innings of work in wins over VMI and UNC Asheville in the past two weeks.
After allowing two singles in the first, and seeing two unearned runs score on a two-out error in that same inning, Campbell shut the door on the visitors from UNC Asheville. Campbell retired 14 of the next 16 batters he faced, allowing just two infield singles during that stretch.
Gardner-Webb (18-15, 7-6 Big South) answered Asheville’s two runs in the bottom of the first, as Kurt Fulginiti hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot, to left center to tie the game. GWU went in front for good in the second, getting three hits with two outs. Brock Miller doubled off the wall in left center and scored on a single by Daniel Cooke to put the ‘Dogs up 3-2. Justin Loyd then hammered a ball over the fence in left center for a 5-2 edge.
Cooke belted a long RBI triple to center in the fourth, Loyd followed with an RBI double and Fulginiti drove in Loyd with a single to left for an 8-2 edge. GWU added three more runs in the fifth, with Jon Ahearn leading off with a solo home run to left that chased Asheville starter Ryan Dull from the game.
GWU added two more unearned runs in the frame for an 11-2 edge – and completed the scoring with Loyd’s second home run of the game, a solo shot, in the eighth.
Loyd (3-for-5, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI) and Cooke (3-for-5, 3B, 3 RBI) paced Gardner-Webb’s offense, with Fulginiti (2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) also collecting more than one hit in the game. Brock Miller (1-for-2, 3 runs), Ty Boyles (1-for-4, 2B), Matt Rizzuto (1-for-4) and Ahearn (1-for-4, HR, RBI) also had safeties for GWU.
Campbell scattered six singles in his 8.0 inning performance, fanning nine and walking just one batter for the win. Taylor Brooks pitched a perfect ninth to finish the game.
Dull, the reigning Big South Pitcher of the Week, took the loss after allowing nine runs on 10 hits in 4.0 innings of work. Jeremy Hall was effective in relief, allowing just one hit and no earned runs in 3.0 innings of work.
Catlin Carter (2-for-4, run) was the lone UNC Asheville hitter with more than one base knock.
The two teams will square off in the second game of the weekend series at 1 pm ET on Saturday in Boiling Springs.