By David Gerhart, assistant sports information director
EASLEY, S.C. – The Campbellsville baseball team won the program’s first-ever NCCAA National Championship with a 7-6 victory over Warner University on Saturday afternoon at J.B. “Red” Owens Sports Complex.
After finishing as the runner-up in the NCCAA World Series the past two seasons, the Tigers finally broke through with their first championship following the win over the Royals.
Campbellsville used a three-run seventh inning to break the deadlock and take their first lead of the game – after falling behind 3-0 early on – which was enough for the victory.
Warner led early on with a two-run home run from Jesse Haney on the sixth pitch of the ball game to put the Royals (34-26) on top, 2-0. The long ball paced Warner to start the game with Kevin Troncoso hitting a solo home run to start the second inning which gave the Royals an early 3-0 advantage.
The Tigers (44-19) started to pick it up on the offensive end in the bottom of second inning as they tied the game with three runs on just two hits. Without recording a hit, Campbellsville placed two runners on base with one out. Matthew Valdez brought in the first run of the game for the Tigers with a RBI single to centerfield to score Jalen Horton – pinch running for Austin Peterson – from second base.
Tyson Solis then delivered another run scoring single to centerfield to bring the Tigers within a run. Still with two runners on base and one out, Logan Roberts tied the game, 3-3, after driving in Valdez from third base with a sacrifice fly.
Campbellsville could not take the lead in the second inning as the score remained tied at three heading into the fourth inning. Troncoso drove in another run for the Royals with double to the gap in left-center field, putting Warner back ahead, 4-3.
The back-and-forth affair continued with Peterson driving in a run after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Despite having the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning, Campbellsville could not take the lead as Warner got out of the jam allowing just the one run.
In the bottom of the half of the seventh inning, the Tiger bats came back alive with a three-run inning on four hits. Valdez drove in his second run of the contest with a single to left field, giving Campbellsville its first lead of the game. Two batters later, Roberts drove in his second and third runs of the day with a double off the wall in centerfield bringing home Horton and Valdez to push the Tiger lead to 7-4.
The 7-4 lead for the Tigers held all the way until the ninth inning. Warner tried to make one last effort to come from behind. The Royals plated two runs with a pair of two-out singles. However, Justin Phillips escaped the jam with the tying run stranded on second base to seal Campbellsville’s 7-6 victory and first NCCAA World Series title.
Mikey Hooper earned the no decision with a five-inning start and allowed four runs – three earned – on seven hits. Kirby Broadbent (3-3) grabbed the victory in relief after allowing two runs on two hits in 3-1/3 innings. Phillips grabbed his second save of the day and fourth of the season after recording the final two outs of the game.
Tyler Perkins (0-3) suffered the loss after allowing the final three runs, along with six hits in three innings of work out of the bullpen.
Following the tournament, Solis was selected as the NCCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player, while Anthony Arias was selected to the All-Tournament Team for the Tigers.
Campbellsville caps off the season with a record of 44-19 overall and collected the Mid-South Conference Tournament title along with the NCCAA National Championship.