Liberty blanks Campbell 7-0 behind complete game effort from Eckelbarger

Hector Cedano
(photo by Will Bratton)
Hector Cedano (photo by Will Bratton)

High Point, N.C. – Patrick Eckelbarger tossed a complete game shutout to lead No. 3 Liberty (40-19) past No. 2 Campbell (41-17) 7-0 in a winner's bracket game during the second round of the Big South tournament on Thursday afternoon. Campbell will now face No. 7 High Point in an elimination game Thursday evening following the Radford vs. Gardner-Webb game (3:00 p.m. start time).

Eckelbarger only allowed two runners to reach second base over his nine innings of work, scattering four hits during his outing. The senior right-hander struck out seven Camels while walking just one as Campbell was shutout for the first time this season.

Liberty jumped out to an early lead, scoring four runs on two hits in the opening frame. The big blast came from Alex Close, who broke the Big South Conference record for most home runs by a freshman with his 14th homer of the season. The three-run blast put Liberty up 4-0 and was more than enough run support for Eckelbarger.

Hector Cedano (3-2) responded from the early damage to retire 16 consecutive LU batters. The streak was broken up by an error, which led to two more unearned runs as Liberty pushed the advantage to 6-0 in the sixth inning. Cedano left after tossing seven innings, scattering five hits and allowing seven runs (four earned). He struck out four without walking any Flame batters. Logan Self pitched the final two innings for the Camels, allowing two hits while striking out one.

Back-to-back two-out singles from Ben McQuown and Michael Felton put runners on first and second in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Eckelbarger induced a pop-out from Jake Kirkland to end the threat. The only other inning that a runner reached second base came in the seventh inning, when Nick Ray was hit by a pitch and Ben Fish followed with a single. Eckelbarger struck out the final two batters of the inning to preserve the shutout.

Updated schedules can be found at the tournament central page here.