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ODU Baseball Rallies for 9-5 Win Over Rutgers on Sunday

Bruce Butler

NORFOLK, Va. – Rutgers scored four runs in the first inning and another run in the second to take a 5-0 lead, but a Luke Waters two-run homer in the fourth ignited a 6-0 response by Old Dominion Baseball as the Monarchs battled back for a 9-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at Bud Metheny Ballpark.
"Good comeback for us," said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood after the win. "We really pitched well after the first inning. Finally got some big hits and a couple breaks. Steven Meier and Waters were the main guys on offense today and Trent Buchanan and Jacob Gomez were good for us. Kyle Edwards was fantastic at shortstop. We have a long way to go offensively. Guys have to get better with their balance and approach."

The Scarlet Knights (5-1) had another quick start as leadoff batter RJ Johnson Jr. was hit by a pitch and Trevor Cohen followed with a four-pitch walk. Johnson Jr. then came home on a Tony Santa Maria single to right center and Cohen made it 2-0 on a Josh Kuroda-Grauer sacrifice fly to center field. Jackson Natili then singled in Santa Maria, and Pete Durocher made it 4-0 with an RBI double down the left-field line. The visitors then pushed their lead to 5-0 with a pair of singles and a Santa Maria sac fly in the second.
ODU's offense finally got clicking in the bottom of the fourth as Meier was plunked, stole second, and then trotted home as Waters smacked a 3-1 offering over the wall in right. After Bouche worked a full count for a free trip to first, Rutgers starting pitcher Zack Konstantinovsky struck out the next two batters. Bouche then stole second and moved up to third on a TJ Aiken liner that Konstantinovsky knocked down but couldn't make a play on. Nick Mueller and Evan Holman followed with RBI singles to left center and down the right-field line, respectively to cut the deficit to 5-4.

Rutgers then brought in righty Ben Gorski, who proceeded to walk Edwards to load the bases. Meier was then hit by a pitch again for a free RBI and Gorski walked Waters as the Monarchs (4-3) jumped ahead 6-5.
ODU tacked on another run in the sixth as Meier was hit again, stole second and raced home on a Waters single through the right side. The Monarchs added two more runs in the eighth Bouche hit a bloop single to right center. Cohen, who was in right field, could not make the diving catch as Meier and Waters were waved home on the play.

Waters finished 2-for-3 on the day and drove in four runs to pace the offense. In addition to the long ball, he scored two runs and added two walks to his totals. Meier went 1-for-1 and was hit by pitch three times in the game. The transfer outfielder came around three times, stole three bags, and also drove in a run. Bouche grabbed a couple RBIs, scored once, walked once, and stole a base in a 1-for-4 day at the plate.

Buchanan earned his first win of the season following a five-inning start. The senior right-hander from Gig Harbor, Washington gave up five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. Gomez collected his second save after tossing four scoreless innings in relief. He scattered three hits, issued one walk and struck out four.
ODU and East Carolina meet for the first game in a home-and-home series this Tuesday when the Monarchs host the Pirates for a 3 p.m. game at The Bud.