RALEIGH — Campbell baseball used a five-run fourth inning to defeat the No. 17 N.C. State Wolfpack 5-3 in baseball on Tuesday night at Doak Field at Dail Park.
Tuesday’s victory was Campbell’s third win over N.C. State in Raleigh in the past three seasons. Additionally, it was the second win over an ACC opponent this season and the second win over a ranked opponent.
Grant Harris hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the fourth, just the second long ball of the junior’s Camel career. His first that came in a 6-3 win over Fairfield on March 3 was also a three-run, go-ahead home run.
Spencer Packard registered his second three-hit outing of the season by going 3-for-4 with a pair of singles and a double. Packard’s three hits moved his road hit total to 31 and his road batting average to .419, both of which are top marks among all Campbell bats.
Tyler Anshaw reached base safely in three of his four at-bats by going 2-for-3 with a single, double and hit by pitch. Zach Minnick added an RBI single and Matthew Christian had a base hit, rounding Campbell’s eight knocks.
Kevin Westlake (3-2) made his fifth Tuesday night start and allowed just two earned runs over six innings to earn his third victory of the season. The junior transfer from Louisburg College struck out three while issuing four walks and allowing four hits. After allowing two earned runs in the bottom of the second, Westlake had four scoreless innings. He sat the Wolfpack down in order twice, once in the fifth and again in the sixth.
Senior closer Tyson Messer (Harnett Central) struck out five over the final two innings to earn his third save of 2019.
N.C. State starter Alec Barger suffered the loss, giving up five runs (four earned) in his three and one-third innings of work.
The Wolfpack struck first, scoring two runs on a sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout in the bottom of the second.
In the top of the fourth, Packard lined a one-out single over the outstretched glove of the first baseman for his second hit of the night. With the infield shifted over to the right and a 1-2 count, Anshaw laid a bunt down the third-base line for an infield single, moving Packard into scoring position. Minnick drove in Packard with an RBI single up the middle, cutting State’s lead in half, 2-1.
One batter later, Harris launched a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall for a three-run dinger into the trees, giving Campbell the lead, 4-2.
Christian kept the top of the fourth going with a double down the right-field line. With A.J. Hrica at the plate, Christian advanced to third on a failed picked off attempt paired with an errant throw by the shortstop. Hrica drove in Christian just two pitches later on a sacrifice fly into center field, moving CU’s advantage to three, 5-2.
Westlake returned to pitch the bottom of the seventh but allowed a walk and a single to the first two batters.
Redshirt-junior Jonathan Tyler relieved Westlake and got the first batter he faced swinging on strikes for the first out of the inning. The next batter lined out to left field before Tyler threw a wild pitch, moving the two base runners into scoring position. He settled in and got the final out of the inning by fanning his second batter of the inning, preserving CU’s 5-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the eighth, the leadoff batter singled into the left field. Redshirt-junior Julian Blackburn came in and issued a walk. Pitching coach Chris Marx turned to senior closer Tyson Messer, who fanned the first batter he faced for the first out. Messer allowed a single to the next batter before got another swinging strikeout for the second out.
Messer issued a bases-loaded walk that trimmed Campbell’s lead to two, 5-3, but he needed just three pitches to strike out the next batter, ending the eighth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Messer fanned the first batter but surrendered a hit by pitch and a double to the next two hitters. He got the next out with a looking strikeout but issued a walk to load the bases. A deep fly ball tracked down by Hrica in center field ended the game.
Up next, the Camels will travel to Rock Hill, S.C., for a pivotal Big South Conference matchup against Winthrop. The opener of the 3-game series is Friday at 6 p.m.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)