Flames burn Camels in title game, put CCU on thin ice

No. 5 Liberty upset top-seeded Campbell in the Big South Conference Tournament championship game on Saturday, delivering a serious blow to Coastal Carolina’s chances of making the NCAA Regionals.

Liberty’s Ashton Perritt came up big with a game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth to lead the Flames to a 2-1 win over the Camels to win the title at their home field and put the Chanticleers’ season in jeopardy.

The Flames claim the league’s automatic bid and Campbell (49-10) claimed the regular season championship to put themselves ahead of Coastal (37-21) in the NCAA’s pecking order. Coastal does hold a slight edge in RPI but will have to wait until Monday’s announcement by the NCAA selection committee to learn its fate. The likelihood of three Big South teams making the tournament is highly unlikely.

The Flames win marks the first time the host team has won the Championship since 1992 and is just the fourth time overall.  The Championship is the Flames’ fourth Championship in school history and the first tournament title since 2000.  Liberty and the 1990 Campbell Camels squad are the only No. 5 seeds in tournament history to claim the crown.

Liberty notch one runner in the top of the ninth to pick up the 2-1 win.  Alex Close reached on a throwing error by Campbell shortstop Graham and moved up to second on the play.  Sammy Taormina was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.  Perritt followed with an RBI single to plate Close.

Campbell got on the board first as it plated one runner in the bottom of the first inning to take the 1-0 lead.  With one away, Brent Graham reached on an error and Michael Felton moved Graham up on a single to left center.  David Olson followed with a single to load the bases.  Elijah Trail plated Graham as he reached on a fielder’s choice.

Liberty tied the game at 1-1 in the top half of the third as Dalton Britt connected on his second home run of the year, a lined shot to right field.

Josh Richardson earned the win for Liberty with eight innings pitched.  He improved to 3-4 on the season and held the Camels to just one run on five hits.  Perritt picked up the save with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.  Ryan Thompson took the loss for Campbell and falls to 9-1 on the year.

Wimmer finished the game with two hits, while teammate Bryan Aanderud also notched a pair of hits.  Nick Ray was Campbell’s top hitter with two hits.

With the win, Liberty improves to 34-27, while Campbell ends their tournament run at 49-10.

The Flames receive the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA Baseball Championship and will find out which regional they will play in on the NCAA Baseball Championship Selection Show at noon on Monday, May 27 on ESPNU.

All-Tournament Team
INF – Michael Felton, Campbell
INF – Dalton Britt, Liberty
INF – Jake Kimble, Liberty
INF – Matt Dickason, Longwood
OF – Alex Buccilli, Coastal Carolina
OF – Colton Konvicka, Longwood
OF – Justin Sizemore, Liberty
C – Trey Wimmer, Liberty
P – Ryan Thompson, Campbell
P – Blake Fulghum, Liberty
DH – Ted Blackman, Coastal Carolina
UTL – Ashton Perritt, Liberty
MVP – Ashton Perritt, Liberty

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