Sports

Campbell needs one Monday win for surprising regional title

Campbell’s Koby Collins (35) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during N.C. State’s game against Campbell in the Greenville Regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville, N.C., Friday, May 31, 2019.
Campbell’s Koby Collins (35) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during N.C. State’s game against Campbell in the Greenville Regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville, N.C., Friday, May 31, 2019. ehyman@newsobserver.com

The Campbell Camels won another narrow game Sunday to put themselves a win away from an improbable NCAA baseball super regional appearance.

Third-seeded Campbell erased two Quinnipiac leads in the final two innings, including a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to claim a 9-8 Greenville Regional win at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

“Coming in the clutch in the last inning,” Campbell’s Matthew Barefoot said, “it’s unbelievable how that worked out. It couldn’t have worked out any better in my opinion. Just being able to give us a little bit of an edge going into the championship.”

The Camels (37-19) move into Monday’s regional championship at 1 p.m. Campbell will face either top-seed East Carolina and fourth-seed Quinnipiac. Those teams play an elimination game Sunday night.

A Campbell win at 1 p.m. Monday moves the Camels to the super regional round. A loss means a winner-take-call game for the regional title will be played Monday at 7 p.m.

“Our guys genuinely love and care for each other,” Campbell coach Justin Haire said. “They believe we are supposed to be here. We don’t believe in coincidence. We believe everything happens for a reason and that we’re in the position we are because we’ve been blessed with opportunities and we’re trying to make the most of those opportunities.”

Campbell opened the regional with a 5-4 win over second-seeded N.C. State in a weather-delayed game that finished Saturday. Fourth-seeded Quinnipiac upset East Carolina 5-4 Saturday night to set up a winner’s bracket game between the two upstarts.

The Bobcats led Campbell four different times on Sunday, including 7-6 entering the bottom of the eighth inning.

But Barefoot slammed a solo home run for the Camels with one out in the eighth for a 7-7 tie.

After Quinnipiac used a single, a Campbell error and a wild pitch to move ahead 8-7 in the top of the ninth, Campbell had one last rally.

With one out, Bobcats relief pitcher Andrew Workman hit Collin Wolf and Koby Collins with pitches to put Campbell runners at first and second.

Pinch-hitter Matt Christian hit a sinking liner that fell in front of Quinnipiac centerfielder Brian Moskey. Wolf scored the tying run with Collins advancing to third on Christian’s double.

Campbell catcher Zach Minnick followed with a fly ball to deep centerfield. Moskey made the catch but Collins easily scored the winning run.

With a second 1-run win in as many days, Campbell’s dream season moved on.

“Other than having a heart attack, it’s exciting,” Barefoot said. “Everybody is engaged. The fans are engaged. We are engaged. We’re just all in the dugout trying to give every bit of energy we have.”

An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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