Campbell downs High Point 7-5 to win Big South title, clinch NCAA berth

Luis Gimenez roped a go-ahead two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh as top-seeded Campbell defeated No. 2 seed High Point 7-5 to claim the 2018 Big South Baseball Tournament title Saturday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

With the win, the Camels have swept regular season and tournament titles for the first time in program history. Campbell receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Baseball Tournament for the first time since 2014 and will discover its Regional destination following the selection show on Monday, May 28 at noon on ESPNU.

Matthew Barefoot – who was later named Tournament MVP – finished 3-for-4 with three doubles to lead the Camels offensively. The redshirt sophomore from Dunn, N.C. went 10-for-19 (.526) for the tournament with five doubles, seven runs scored and three RBI over five games.

Harry Thomas (4-0) earned the win in relief, shutting the Panthers down as the senior right-hander retired nine of his first 10 batters faced. A native of Washington, D.C., Thomas collected two strikeouts with one earned run on two hits. He was later named to the All-Tournament team for his efforts in the “Winner Take All” Championship Game.

Logan Bender picked up his third save of the season, entering the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and picking up a strikeout to seal the victory for the Camels.

Campbell‘s offense knocked six extra-base hits for the second-consecutive game. In addition to Gimenez‘s triple and Barefoot‘s doubles, seniors Jeff Hahs and Kyle Mehl each added two-baggers for the Camels.

After stranding runners in scoring position in back-to-back frames, Campbell (35-24) struck first with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the third. Hahs laced an RBI double to the left center gap, scoring Barefoot from first who led the inning off with an HBP. Hahs advanced to third on a wild pitch before crossing the plate on an RBI groundout from Christian Jonesthat put the Camels ahead 2-0.

Campbell added a run to its lead in the bottom of the fourth. Mehl lined a double down the left field line for his fourth extra-base hit of the tournament, then Barefoot cranked a ball into the left center gap for his second two-bagger of the game that scored Mehl.

High Point (34-22) took the lead in the top of the fifth with a couple of two-run homers from Hunter Lee and Carson Jackson. One of the runs went down as unearned, as Big South Player of the Year Austin Zente reached on a Campbell throwing error.

Trailing 4-3, the Camels plated three runs in the seventh to take a lead that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. Freshman designated hitter Ty Babin tied it up with an RBI bunt single down the first base line, scoring Jones from third. Two batters later, Gimenez ripped a ball off the left center field wall for his first triple of the season as Anshaw and Babin came home to put CU ahead 6-4.

Campbell added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a sac fly to center field from Hahs, scoring Barefoot to give the Camels a 7-4 edge headed into the ninth.

High Point‘s Hunter Lee knocked a two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth for the final run of the game. Bender, the Big South Freshman of the Year, took the mound with the tying run at the plate and used five pitches to strike out HPU‘s top freshman in Tanner Wells to earn the save.

Matthew Barefoot (MVP), Christian Jones, Kyle Mehl and Harry Thomas were each named to the All-Tournament Team following Saturday‘s victory over High Point. Campbell‘s four honorees are the most since also having four make the team in 2014.

Up next, Campbell will await its NCAA Regional destination, as the tournament field will be revealed Monday, May 28 at noon on ESPNU. Regional competition is scheduled for Friday through Monday, June 1-4 with the top-16 overall seeds hosting the opening rounds.