May 6, 2013
Buies Creek, N.C. — When Greg Goff got the gig as head baseball coach of the Campbell University Camels six years ago, he admits it wasn't easy to recruit kids to a school most couldn't pinpoint on a map.
"Nobody grows up wanting to come to Campbell," Goff said. "But, now with the commitment the administration has made to our program, it's made a big difference for us, and now kids know about us."
It is a message that is getting through to opposing teams as well.
As of Monday, Campbell ranked in the top 15 in the nation in batting average at .312 and top 20 in ERA at 2.75.
"A lot of it is that we bought into our system, and it's shown in our record," says Camels infielder Michael Felton.
That record proves last year's program-best 41 wins was no fluke.
With seven regular-season games left, the Camels are cruising with a 39-9 record, tops in the Big South Conference.
"Coming to a place I've never heard of before and helping put a place on the map that's never been there before is very special," says Camels pitcher Ryan Thompson. "I'm excited to be a part of the club."
The Camels earned another big achievement when, for the first time ever, Campbell cracked Baseball America's Top 25 poll.
"To see Campbell University amongst the names of the North Carolinas and the N.C. States and the Mississippi States, and all those great programs, it was a great honor," Goff said.
"But that's not what we're hoping to end with," Thompson says. "That's just the beginning."
The next rung on Campbell's ladder of success is well within reach – a trip to the college baseball regionals. The Camels will learn where they will start their postseason on Memorial Day, May 27, when the 64-team field is announced.
Thirty conference champions qualify automatically; the remaining 34 teams are selected at-large by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee.