Lynchburg, Va. – Liberty scored the winning run on a bases loaded, infield single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to take the 5-4 series opener on Friday evening at Worthington Stadium. Justin Sizemore's first base hit of the day plated Ian Parmley to score the winning run with two outs to propel LU to 26-7 overall, 5-2 in the Big South. The Fighting Camels (25-6, 5-2 Big South) lose consecutive games for the first time in 2012.
Campbell scored two early runs in the first inning, using RBI base hits from Michael Felton and Nick Ray to open an early 2-0 lead. The Flames answered immediately in the bottom half of the frame, as Bryan Aanderud provided an RBI single to kick off a 2-for-3 day at the plate with two RBI. Justin Sizemore added a sacrifice fly to even the score at 2-2.
The Flames took their first lead of the night in the third inning, with Parmley connecting on a one-out single, advancing to second on a groundout and scoring on Aanderud's RBI single. Parmley finished the game 4-for-4 with three runs scored.
The Camels tied the game in the fifth inning, scraping one run across on another RBI single from Ray, who finished 3-for-4 with two RBI during the game.
Liberty reclaimed the lead in the sixth inning, leading off the bottom of the inning with a home run from Alex Close off Camel starter Matt Sergey. Following two outs and a walk, Ryan Mattes relieved Sergey and retired the final batter of the inning. Sergey went 5.2 innings, allowing six hits and four earned runs in his no decision, while striking out two batters and walking three.
CU secured the third and final tie of the game in the seventh inning, knotting the score at 4-4 on an RBI single from David Olson that scored Ben McQuown. Nick Ray appeared to tie the game on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, but Felton was ruled to have left third base early and called out to end the inning.
After allowing a leadoff double in the seventh inning, Mattes retired seven straight LU batters to provide a solid relief effort. He exited in the ninth inning after allowing two hits and striking out four batters.
The Camels earned a leadoff walk in the ninth from Jimmy Brenneman, but were unable to advance him to scoring position. Campbell put the leadoff runner on base in seven of nine innings, but the team only able to score two of those runners and finished with nine men left on base.
Zack Haley singled off Mattes in the ninth and advanced to third on a two-base error. Matt Marksberry entered for the Camels and after an intentional walk induced a fielder's choice to get the second out of the inning. Another intentional walk loaded to bases and Justin Sizemore collected the game-winning infield single on a slow chopper up the middle.
Mattes (3-1) is credited with the loss because of an NCAA baseball rule that deals with inherited runners and fielder's choice plays with relief pitchers, while Patrick Bankemper (3-2) gets the win.
The teams will meet on Saturday afternoon for a doubleheader that is set to get underway at 2 p.m.