Liberty splits doubleheader with Campbell
The Liberty Flames won a Big South Conference series at Campbell for the first time since the Camels rejoined the conference in 2011 by walking to an 8-3 victory over Campbell in game two of a doubleheader, Sunday at Jim Perry Stadium.
The Flames, who had only two hits, both by right fielder Brandon Rohrer, took advantage of 15 walks by Campbell pitchers to ease past the Camels.
With the win, Liberty takes the series, 2-1. Campbell won the first game of Sunday’s twin bill, 5-4. The Flames raise their record to 7-5 in Big South play and 18-12 overall. The Camels fall to 9-3 in conference and 16-16 overall. The Camels entered the weekend atop the Big South standings.
After leaving runners at both second and third base in both the first and second innings, the Flames took advantage of Campbell starting pitcher Brandon Jenkins’ wildness and two defensive miscues by the Camel infield to take the lead. Center fielder D.J. Artis led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Trey McDyre. Catcher Trey Todd, the national leader in bases on balls, and second baseman Dylan Allen both walked, filling the bases. Two batters later, Artis scored on a two-out throwing error by Campbell shortstop Luis Gimenez on a ground ball by shortstop Cam Locklear for a 1-0 edge.
A wild pitch then allowed Todd to come in with the second run of the game and Allen plated another, when Camels third baseman Tyler Anshaw misplayed a grounder off the bat of designated hitter Tyler Galazin for a 3-0 Liberty lead.
Liberty scratched across two more runs in the fourth without a hit. Right fielder Brandon Rohrer walked to open the top of the inning and advanced to second two batters later, when McDyre drew a base on balls. After a Campbell pitching change, Todd received his second walk of the game to load the bases. Allen followed by being hit by a pitch to force in a run for a 4-0 edge. A dropped third strike allowed Todd to come home, lengthening the Flames lead to 5-0.
Campbell plated two in the fifth. After Liberty starting pitcher Noah Skirrow retired the first 13 batters he faced in the contest, Camel catcher Zach Minnick worked a walk and moved to third base on Campbell’s first hit of the game, a double by designated hitter Jeff Hahs. Minnick then scored on a ground out to second for the first run of the home half of the inning. Pinch hitter Ty Babin followed with a two-out, run-producing single to make it, 5-2 Flames.
Campbell inched closer with a run in the sixth. Gimenez walked to open the inning and advanced to second when left fielder Matthew Barefoot also walked. After a Liberty pitching change, both runners executed a double steal and when Flames catcher Jonathan Embry’s throw went into left field, Gimenez scored slicing the Liberty lead to two at 5-3.
The Flames added three insurance runs in the top of the eighth without a hit, benefitting from four walks, a hit batsman and an error. The first three batters of the inning, Artis, McDyre and Todd, each walked to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Artis to come home, making it 6-3 Liberty. After Allen was hit by a pitch, once again filling the bases, a pickoff attempt by Camel reliever Jack Yusko got away at first base and rolled down the right field line, allowing McDyre and Todd to tally runs for an 8-3 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Barefoot tripled with one out, but Flames reliever Jackson Bertsch struck out the next two Camel batters to prevent Barefoot from scoring.
Skirrow evens his record at 2-2 on the season. The freshman right-hander, who was perfect through the first 4 1/3 innings, gave up three runs, two earned, on two hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked three.
Bertsch did not allow the final 3 2/3 innings to earn the first career save. He yielded two hits, struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Campbell starter Jenkins falls to 1-1. The freshman right-hander allowed five runs, two earned, over 3 1/3-plus innings. He struck out four, but walks were his undoing, issuing eight.
The Camels collected five hits and made three errors. The Flames committed two errors.