Camels left out of NCAA diamond dance
Campbell's baseball team, with a 49-10 record and the Big South Conference regular season title, but off a loss to Liberty in the conference's tournament championship game Saturday, gathered at a watch party at Lillington's Sports Zone Monday morning to watch the NCAA Baseball Championships selection show.
Despite the Big South season pennant, a national ranking as high as No. 24 prior to last week's play, and 49 victories, which only North Carolina, Louisiana St. and Vanderbilt surpassed this season, there was no joy in Buies Creek Monday for the Camels were left out.
Liberty, the fifth-place team in the Big South regular season, earned the No. 3 seed in the South Carolina four-team regional.
Coastal Carolina, which finished second, one game back, to the Camels in the Big South season, with 37-21 overall and 18-6 league marks, was an at-large entry and got the No. 3 seed to the Virginia Tech regional. The 64-team field has 34 at-large spots.
The Camels were ranked No. 24 in the NCBWA poll, No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 28 in the Collegiate Baseball poll last week. Campbell was No. 43 in the national RPI rankings as of May 21 according to ncaa.com.
Coastal Carolina was No. 41 in the same RPI rankings. UNC-Wilmington (37-21 overall) and William and Mary (37-22 overall), the Colonial season champ and runner-up respectively, but at-large teams after Towson won the CAA Tournament on Sunday, were No. 25 and 37 respectively.
San Francisco, of the West Coast Conference, received an at-large berth with a 34-22 overall mark, a three-way second-place tie in the WCC season and a No. 55 RPI ranking.
The SEC had the most schools make the field with nine, including Florida (29-28, 14-16) which had a No. 26 RPI.
Campbell junior Ryan Thompson was named Pitcher of the Year in the Big South and Greg Goff was named Coach of the Year, leading nine Camels on Big South all-league teams this season.
Thompson, also First Team All-Big South as a relief pitcher, was joined by Ben McQuown (outfield), Michael Felton (second base) Elijah Trail (third base), and Ryan Mattes (starting pitcher) on the conference's First Team.
Four Camels also made Second Team All-Big South; Clayton Brown (outfield), Brent Graham (shortstop), David Olson (designated hitter) and Heath Bowers (starting pitcher).
Campbell's nine first and second team honorees by far surpasses a season high for the program. Four Camels have been all-league selections three times, including last year.
The Camels ranked among the nation's leaders in batting, ERA and runs.
The Camels went 2-1 versus ACC opponents this season, with two wins vs. Duke and a loss to N.C. State. CU's only victories against squads in the NCAA field were a three-game sweep vs. Liberty.