LYNCHBURG, Va. – The top-seeded Fighting Camels scored seven runs across the seventh and eighth innings to defeat No. 8 seed Longwood 8-1 in the opening round of the 2018 Big South Tournament on Tuesday night at the Liberty Baseball Stadium.
The contest spanned a total of six hours and 24 minutes, as a two-hour, 34-minute lightning delay put the game on hold in the bottom of the third. The first pitch crossed the plate at 5:53 p.m. Tuesday evening, while the final out was recorded at 12:17 a.m. Wednesday.
Campbell (32-23) advances to the winners’ bracket of the conference championship and will face the Wednesday winner between Winthrop and Gardner-Webb on Thursday, May 24, at noon.
Redshirt-sophomore outfielder Matthew Barefoot (Midway) led the Camels offensively with his second consecutive three-hit performance. Freshman designated hitter Ty Babin also logged a multi-hit outing with a triple and an RBI single Tuesday night.
Former Triton performer Logan Bender (5-1) earned the win in relief, as the Big South Freshman of the Year tossed two scoreless frames with three hits allowed, one walk and two strikeouts. Redshirt senior Allan Winans held the Lancers off the board for three innings before the lightning delay cut his outing short as the Campbell starter.
Longwood’s Tommy Green (2-2) took the loss, surrendering two earned runs on four hits over four and one-third innings of relief. The freshman righty tossed 96 pitches, collecting six strikeouts and four walks.
Fresh out of the weather delay, Campbell got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the third. Bryce Myers led the inning off with a double to right center and came home on a wild pitch from Green to put the Camels up 1-0.
Longwood (17-37) evened the score with its only run of the night in the top of the sixth, as right fielder Eric Crain cranked a solo home run to center.
The Camels retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. After Tyler Anshaw drew a bases-loaded walk, Babin knocked a ground ball through the middle to score Barefoot and put CU ahead 3-1.
Campbell posted five runs in the bottom of the eighth, highlighted by four-straight run-scoring hits from the top of the lineup. Barefoot roped an RBI double down the left field line, followed by Jeff Hahs and Christian Jones, who knocked back-to-back RBI singles through the left side. Zach Minnick had a bloop single to center that plated Hahs. Jones scored the final run of the night, sneaking home after a throw that was attempting to catch Minnick stealing second.
Campbell closer Tyson Messer (Harnett Central) struck out two in the bottom of the ninth before a groundout to first base ended the game.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report.)