BUIES CREEK — With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, senior infielder Christian Jones placed a walk-off bunt single in no man’s land to score Luis Gimenez and lift Campbell to a 4-3 Big South Conference baseball win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon at Jim Perry Stadium.
Down 0-2 in the count with one out, Jones pulled his bat down and placed the ball right between the pitcher, first baseman and second baseman for his first bunt single of the season and his first walk-off hit as a Camel.
Saturday’s win clinched the three-game series for Campbell, which moved to 12-11 overall and 5-0 in Big South action. Gardner-Webb dropped to 13-12 with a 1-4 record in conference play.
CU’s 5-0 start in conference action is the best for the Camels since CU went 6-0 to begin Big South play in 2012. Additionally, the walk-off hit was the first for the Camels since Drew Butler crushed a grand slam in a 9-7 victory over UNC Asheville on April 22, 2017.
Campbell right-hander Wyatt Tyson (1-1) was credited with the win, tossing one complete inning as he held the Bulldogs scoreless in the top of the ninth.
Will Sellers (2-1) took the loss for Gardner-Webb, allowing one earned run over one and one-third innings of relief.
The Bulldogs got on the board quickly, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Eric Jones (2-for-4) came home on a passed ball, then Corey Howard (2-for-3) scored on a ground out to put Gardner-Webb up 2-0 early.
Campbell tied it up in the bottom of the fifth as Zach Minnick (2-for-3) roped a double to the left center gap, scoring Matthew Barefoot (1-for-3) and Tyler Anshaw. Jeff Hahs (2-for-3, RBI) gave the Camels their first lead of the game on the next at-bat, sending a single through the middle to bring Minnick home and give CU a 3-2 advantage.
Gardner-Webb evened the score in the top of the eighth on an RBI-single from Eric Jones, scoring shortstop Taber Mongero (1-for-2) to make it 3-3.
CU center fielder Bryce Myers (1-for-4) led off for the Camels with a double down the left field line in the bottom of the ninth. The Bulldogs intentionally walked Gimenez to put two men on. Anshaw stepped up and bunted into a fielder’s choice as Myers was thrown out at third. Barefoot was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Jones. The walk-off bunt followed.
The Camels are looking for their second straight conference sweep today (Sunday, March 25) at 2 p.m. at Jim Perry Stadium.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)