A strong mound effort by Evan Mitchell and Eric Grabowski helped propel the Liberty Flames to a 7-1 victory over the Campbell Camels, Sunday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Mitchell held the Camels to one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings, running his record to 6-1 on the year. The right-hander struck out two and walked two.
Grabowski entered in the seventh and went on to allow just two baserunners over the final 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander yielded one hit, striking out four. He did not walk a batter. At the plate, Grabowski walked three times in the game as the Flames' designated hitter.
With the win, Liberty takes the Big South series, two games to one. The Flames moved to 14-7 in conference play and 28-17 overall. Campbell drops to 7-11 in the Big South and 21-25 overall.
Mitchell and Camels' starting pitcher Ryan Kirk kept the contest scoreless until the bottom of the fifth. Benefitting from four walks, Liberty sent all nine men to the plate in the frame, scoring three runs on one hit.
Shortstop Cam Locklear reached on a fielding error by Campbell third baseman Drew Butler to open the home half of the fifth. Two batters later, Kirk hit center fielder D.J. Artis with a pitch and third baseman Trey McDyre walked to load the bases with one out. Next batter, left fielder Jake Barbee, also drew a walk, forcing in Locklear with the first run of the contest. First baseman Sammy Taormina followed with a two-run double, which was lost in the sun by Camel right fielder Jeff Haas for a 3-0 Liberty lead.
Campbell scored its only run of the game in the top of the sixth. With one out, Haas hit his ninth home run of the year, cutting his team's deficit to 3-1.
Liberty again took advantage of walks in the home half of the sixth. The Flames sent all nine batters to hit in the frame, plating three runs on one hit. With one out, Campbell reliever Tyson Messer walked right fielder Jack Morris and Artis. After both runners moved up a base on a passed ball, McDyre lined a single back through the middle of the diamond, bringing home both runners for a 5-1 lead. Barbee then walked for the second consecutive inning and two batters later, Grabowski drew a base on balls to fill the bases with Flames. A wild pitch by Camels' reliever Harry Thomas allowed McDyre to scoring, giving Liberty a 6-1 edge.
In the seventh, the Flames tacked on a run. Locklear lined a double past the third base bag and into the left field corner to lead off the bottom of the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Morris. Artis followed with a single to right to plate Locklear for what proved to be the final score of 7-1.
Kirk drops to 3-5 on the season for the Campbell. The right-hander gave up three runs on three hits over five innings. He struck out three and walked four.
The Camels outhit the Flames, 7-6. Campbell committed an error.
Up Next: Liberty will host the Elon Phoenix, Tuesday night at Liberty Baseball Stadium. Game time is set for 6 p.m.