SEARCY, Ark. – Harding received a veteran-like outing from a freshman starting pitcher and had two huge innings at the plate to defeat No. 1 Delta State 12-2 in a game shortened to seven innings by the NCAA’s 10-run rule.
It was Harding’s first victory against a No. 1 team since a win versus top-ranked Delta State in 2003. The Bisons improved to 8-2 on the season while Delta State (11-1) lost for the first time this season.
Collin Campbell (1-0) made only his second collegiate start and limited Delta State to five hits and two runs (one earned) with no walks and five strikeouts. Campbell allowed a hit in each inning after the first but worked out of trouble each time.
Campbell had a cushion to work with after Harding scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Jeremy Bohnett had a two-run, bases loaded double, and James Anderson, making his first start of the season at designated hitter, laced a bases-loaded, two-run single to right.
Harding tacked on an unearned run in the fifth to increase its lead to 5-1.
Delta State answered with a run in the fifth before Campbell struck out the last two hitters in the inning.
Harding led 5-2 entering the seventh, and Billy Ninemire led off by reaching on an error by Delta State third baseman Jami Rachal. Erin McCarver sacrificed Ninemire to second for the first out of the inning. It turned out to be the only out of the inning.
The next eight Harding hitters all reached base. Victor Guerra had a two-run single, Fyock drove in a run with a single, Trent Wooldrige walked with the bases loaded and Ninemire ended the game with a two-run single to right center to score the sixth and seventh runs of the inning.
Anderson, Fyock and Kyle Atkins each had two hits in the Bisons’ 10-hit attack and Anderson had three RBI.
Delta State starter Travis Northern (0-1) did not escape the first inning and took the loss. He allowed four runs, all earned, on three hits in 2/3 of an inning. The Statesmen used five pitchers.
Harding redshirt freshman Zac Stewart entered the game in the top of the seventh with Harding leading by three. He allowed one hit in the inning and earned his second save.