The fifth inning proved to be the difference Saturday night, as the Campbell Camels defeated the Liberty Flames, 7-4, at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
With the contest deadlocked at 2-2 in the fifth, Campbell plated five runs, four on a grand slam by designated hitter Cole Hallum, to take a 7-2 lead it did not relinquish.
Liberty, which had won four straight Big South Conference contests entering the night, falls to 13-7 in conference play and 27-17 overall. Campbell moves to 7-10 in conference and 21-24 overall.
Flames designated hitter Eric Grabowski collected two hits and hit his second home run of the season in the contest. He drove in two runs and scored twice.
Liberty jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first. Third baseman Trey McDyre drew a one-out walk and scored on a hit-and-run double into the right-center field gap by left fielder Jake Barbee for a short-lived advantage.
Campbell answered in the second. Hallum led off the inning with the first of his two home runs of the game to tie the contest at 1-1.
Each team plated runs in the fourth to keep the game knotted. In the top of the inning, left fielder Matthew Barefoot opened the fourth with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the frame, Grabowski belted a leadoff home run over the left field wall, tying the game again at 2-2. Later in the inning, Liberty loaded the bases with two outs, but came away empty as relief pitcher Erik Dowse entered and retired the next batter to end the threat.
The Camels sent 10 men to the plate in the top of the fifth, plating five runs on four hits. With one out, shortstop Adam Wyse and second baseman Drew Butler each singled and scored on a double by Barefoot. After right fielder Jeff Hahs walked to load the bases, Hallum followed with his 10th home run of the year, giving Campbell a 7-2 advantage.
The Flames countered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out double by Grabowski plated Barbee, who led off the inning with a walk, for the first run of the frame. After Grabowski advanced to third on a wild pitch, catcher Payton Scarbrough lifted a sacrifice fly to left to cut the Liberty deficit to 7-4.
However, it was as close as the Flames could get in the contest. Dowse and right-hander Wyatt Tyson held Liberty in check over the final four innings to close out the Campbell victory.
Liberty starting pitcher Jackson Bertsch drops to 2-4 on the season. The right-hander gave up seven runs on six hits over 4 1/3-plus innings. He struck out five and walked three.
Dowse, who relieved Campbell starter Wes Noble, moved to 1-2. He gave up two runs on two hits over 3 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked four.
Tyson pitched two scoreless innings to record his second save of the year.
Campbell outhit Liberty, 7-4. Neither team committed an error.
Up Next: Liberty and Campbell will meet in the final game of their Big South three-game series, tomorrow at Liberty Baseball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.