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Monarchs Come Away With 3-2 Win Over Richmond


NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion Baseball was deadlocked with Richmond 2-2 on Tuesday afternoon at Bud Metheny Ballpark, but some solid pitching, key defensive plays and a Luke Waters solo home run allowed the Monarchs to come out on top, 3-2.

"I thought the guys pitched really well," said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood. "Other than the walks by Garrett Harker and Hutson Trobaugh, we didn't walk anybody the rest of the game. Defensively we made a number of big plays, Maverick Stallings and Kyle Edwards in particular, and Kyle's diving play in the eighth probably saved the game."

The Spiders (9-11) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. After Phil Bernstein walked, Jordan Jaffe hit a 2-0 pitch down the left-field line for what looked to be a foul ball. However, with a 14 mile per hour wind blowing out towards right field, the ball sliced back fair.

ODU then evened the score in the bottom of the second. Kenny Levari led off with a double to right field and moved up to third base on a Jackson Tone ground out to first. Stallings then connected on a 3-0 offering, sending the ball over the wall in left center.

U of R looked to retake control in the seventh inning. With one out, Connor Larson singled to right field and advanced to third on a Joey Wilga hit to the gap in right. Wilga attempted to move up to second on the throw to third, but Levari fired back to Stallings in time for the ODU second baseman to apply the tag for the second out. Edwards then caught a line drive right at him for the third out.

The visitors again pressed the issue in the eighth as Bernstein and Jaffe drew back-to-back walks. The Monarchs (13-8) made a call to the pen for Vincent Bashara and that proved to be the right decision. The Norfolk, Virginia native struck out the first batter he faced, then induced a ground ball to short that Edwards made a great diving play on. He reset himself and threw over to Alex Bouche at first in time to make the out. Both runners moved up on the play, but Bashara induced another ground ball, this time to Stallings, to end the threat.

Richmond brought in a new pitcher in the home half of the frame, and Waters greeted him with a solo home run to left. Bashara then retired the Spiders in order in the ninth to close out the game.

"Offensively we were in La La Land today and I'm not sure what was going on there, but Waters had a big hit with the home run to give us the lead in the bottom of the eighth," added Finwood. "You have to give Vincent Bashara a lot of credit for coming in and getting out of that jam in the top of the eighth, so we won with pitching and defense today. We have to be a lot better offensively as we move forward."

Bashara (1-0) earned the win after tossing two scoreless frames without allowing a hit or a walk. He faced six batters, striking out two of them. Harker started the game and was responsible for the two runs on one hit and three walks. A staff day for the Monarchs, seven different pitchers combined to hold the visitors to a .194 clip (6-for-31).

Waters finished his day 2-for-2 and added two walks and three stolen bases to his totals. He raised his average to a team-best .346 and he is now 14-for-15 when attempting to steal. Levari went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, Steven Meier hit 1-for-1 with two swiped bags, and Stallings turned in a 1-for-4 effort.

The Monarchs will head to Lafayette, Louisiana this weekend for a Sun Belt series against the Ragin' Cajuns. ODU and Louisiana start with a 7 p.m. ET game on Friday, then meet again on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. The two teams then wrap up with a 12 p.m. ET first pitch on Sunday.