Baseball splits Saturday doubleheader with Liberty

Head coach Greg Goff and David Olson (photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Head coach Greg Goff and David Olson (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

Lynchburg, Va. – Campbell split a Saturday doubleheader with Liberty to win one of three games in the tight series, with all games decided by two runs or less. The Fighting Camels move to 26-7 overall, 6-3 in the Big South while the Flames improve to 27-8, 7-2 in league play to lead all Big South schools. CU will be back in action on Tuesday when the Camels host North Carolina A&T at Taylor Field, with first pitch set for 6 p.m. 

Game 1: Liberty 8, Campbell 6

Liberty scored five runs over the first two innings to take a 5-0 lead and the Flames held on late for an 8-6 victory in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. Andy Smith paced the LU offense, finishing 3-for-5 with 4 RBI and one run scored in the game.

Smith put the Flames in front early on his two-run homer in the first inning. The hosts added three more runs in the second inning on two hits, one walk and one error to take a 5-0 advantage.

Campbell got on the scoreboard in the third inning, with Ben Fish contributing a leadoff home run for his first round-tripper of the season. The Camels added another run in the fifth inning when Fish scored on Michael Felton's RBI single up the middle.

LU immediately answered in the bottom half of the fifth, getting a two-run homer from Alex Close to extend the Flame lead back out to five runs at 7-2.

Down 8-3 in the seventh inning, Campbell used a three-run blast from David Olson to climb within a two-run deficit.

The Camels then loaded the bases in the ninth inning, when Patrick Bankemper entered from the LU bullpen with one out. Bankemper threw seven pitches (all strikes) to record the final two outs of the game and pick up the save.

Frank Zier (3-1) took the loss for CU, allowing eight hits and seven runs (six earned) in 4.2 innings of work. Patrick Eckelbarger earned the win for the Flames to improve to 6-0 on the season.

Game 2: Campbell 7, Liberty 6 (10 innings)

Campbell scored on a sacrifice fly from Bryce Grady in the tenth inning to take the series finale 7-6 over the first-place Flames. The final game proved to be a back-and-forth affair, much like the first two games of the tight series.

Felton tripled with two outs in the first and came around to score when Kirkland reached on an error. Liberty scored two runs in the bottom of the first for the third consecutive game in the series. The Camels also scored a single run in the second and third innings to open a 3-2 lead over the hosts.

After tying the game in the fourth, the Flames got to CU starter Andrew Jacobsen in the fifth, scoring two more runs to force a move to the Camel bullpen. LU took a 5-3 lead after the fifth before Campbell rallied to tie the game in the top of the sixth on an RBI single from Ben Fish.

The visitors took their second lead of the day in the seventh when Brenneman scored off an RBI single from Olson to give CU a 6-5 advantage. Logan Self pitched 3.1 innings of no-hit ball in relief for the Camels before he surrendered a solo home run to Danny Grauer in the eighth inning. Matt Marksberry entered and tossed 1.2 innings with one hit, one walk, one strikeout and no runs while picking up the win.

Liberty had a chance to sweep the series in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on first and two outs. Designated hitter Tyler Cox ripped a ball deep to left field that Brenneman chased down at the track to keep the Flame baserunner from scoring and send the game to extra innings.

In the tenth, Bryce Grady reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second on a walk and to third on a wild pitch. Grady then came to the plate on a sac fly from Cam'Ron Summers.

David Olson came on to close out the game in the tenth inning and worked around two walks to pick up his fourth save of the season.