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Ninth-Inning Run Pushes Liberty Past Campbell
A two-out bases loaded infield single by Justin Sizemore in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Liberty Flames a 5-4 win over the Campbell Fighting Camels, Friday night in a Big South Conference contest at Worthington Stadium.
With the score knotted 4-4, shortstop Zack Haley singled back through the middle of the infield with one out and advanced all the way to third base after an errant throw on a pickoff play. Following a pitching change by the Camels, left fielder Ian Parmley walked and was allowed to move to second by Campbell. Campbell reliever Matt Marksberry was able to induce Liberty center fielder Andy Smith to hit a grounder which the Camels used to throw out Haley at the plate for the second out.
Second baseman Bryan Aanderud was intentionally walked to load the bases for Flames designated hitter Justin Sizemore, who bounced a high chopper behind the pitcher's mound for an infield hit, scoring Parmley for the 5-4 victory.
Liberty improves to 6-1 in Big South play and 26-7 overall. Campbell falls to 5-2 in conference action and 25-6 overall. The meeting between two of the nation's winningest teams was the first for the programs since 1994.
The Camels and the Flames both plated two runs in the game's opening inning. Left fielder Jimmy Brenneman led off the contest with a single and moved to second on a bunt by center fielder Ben McQuown. Second baseman Michael Felton followed with a RBI single for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, first baseman Nick Ray singled to score Felton for a 2-0 advantage.
Liberty answered in the bottom in the inning. Parmley singled and Smith walked to open the Flames' first. Aanderud followed with an opposite field single to right field to plate Parmley with the first Liberty run of the frame. Sizemore then lifted a sacrifice fly to produce Smith from third base, tying the game at 2-2.
Liberty pushed across a run in the third. Parmley singled back through the middle of the infield with one out and moved to second on a ground out by Smith. The next batter Aanderud singled to score Parmley for a 3-2 edge.
In the top of the fifth, Campbell tied the game for the second time. With one out, Felton and designated hitter Jake Kirkland walked. Two batters later, Ray singled sharply to right field to plate Felton, knotting the contest at 3-3.
Liberty's Alex Close gave the Flames the advantage again during the sixth. The first baseman blasted the first pitch of the home half of the inning over the center field wall for his fourth home run of the year and a 4-3 lead.
Campbell evened the game again in the seventh. McQuown reached on an infield single and Felton walked to lead off the frame. Two batters later, third baseman David Olsen grounded a one-out single through the right side, tying the game at 4-4.
After a leadoff double by Parmely in the bottom of seventh, Camel reliever Ryan Mattes stranded the Liberty left fielder by retiring the next three Flames to keep the score deadlocked.
Liberty reliever Patrick Bankemper moves to 3-2 on the year following the victory. The right-hander retired both batters he faced in the ninth inning.
Mattes drops to 3-1 on the season. He allowed one run on two hits over 2 2/3 innings of relief. He struck out four batters and walked none.
The Flames collected nine hits. Parmley led all hitters in the game with four hits. It was his second four-hit contest of the season. The Camels had 11 hits. Ray recorded three hits and drove in two runs for the visitors.
Campbell and Liberty will meet again tomorrow in a doubleheader to conclude their three-game series. Game one is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.