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Monarchs Sweep Doubleheader, Claim Series Win Over South Alabama

Bob Bradlee

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion baseball won both games of a doubleheader versus South Alabama on Friday, defeating the Jaguars by scores of 8-2 and 8-3 at Bud Metheny Ballpark.

"The guys came to play today," said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood. "We played well in all phases of the game and had a bunch of timely hits. I was really proud of how hard we competed for 18 innings."

Game One
USA broke through in the top of the second as Brennan Holt was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Lucas Ismaili hit a two-run home run to center field. Later in the inning, the Jaguars (15-12, 2-6 Sun Belt) had one out and runners on the corners, but Alex Bouche fielded a ground ball right at him and threw home to Evan Holman in time to get the lead runner out at the plate.

The Monarchs (15-11, 4-4) then answered with four runs on three hits in the bottom of the inning. Kyle Edwards got ODU on the board with a leadoff solo shot to left. After Kenny Levari singled to the gap in right and Carter Sunderman walked, Hunter Cole connected on a 1-0 pitch for a three-run blast to right center. His first hit as a Monarch put Old Dominion in front, 4-2.

ODU went up 5-2 in the bottom of the third as Steven Meier singled through the right side, stole second, reached third on a Luke Waters base hit to the pitcher and came home as Edwards grounded into a 4-3 double play. The Monarchs then added single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to round out the scoring.

The win went to reliever Kellen Davis (3-0), who struck out the only batter he faced. Starter Jay Cassady was tagged for two runs on three hits and a walk. He recorded one strikeout and hit one batter in 1.2 innings pitched. John Holobetz and Jacob Gomez threw the other seven innings, combining for nine strikeouts, with Gomez securing his fourth save of the season.

Meier finished 2-for-3, scored two runs, stole three bags and added a sacrifice bunt. Waters also turned in a 2-for-3 effort with a sacrifice fly, Holman went 1-for-2 with one RBI and a walk, and Cole hit 1-for-3 with the long ball, three RBIs, two runs, a stolen base and a hit by pitch. Edwards and Levari turned in a pair of 1-for-4 outings for ODU's other hits.

Game Two
The Jags needed just one pitch to open the scoring in Game Two as Will Turner went deep to right field. The Monarchs got the run right back though in their first turn at the plate. With two outs, Waters earned a base on balls and took second on a failed pickoff attempt. The junior from Laurel, Delaware moved up to third on an Edwards single to the USA shortstop and raced home on a passed ball.

Cole gave ODU the lead, 2-1 in the bottom of the second. After he hit a one-out double to right, he was waved home on a Bryce Jones single back up the middle. USA threatened to pull even with two outs and runners on the corners in the top of the fifth, but Levari dove to to his left and snagged a line drive to keep the tying run from scoring.

The Monarchs pushed across another four runs on as many hits in the sixth to pull away, 6-1. With two away, Waters hit a solo home run to right center. Edwards followed with a base hit up the middle and scored on a Levari double to right field, who took third on the throw home. Jake Ticer then pinch hit for Sunderman and delivered a line drive two-run blast to right field.

In the seventh, ODU took an 8-1 advantage as Holman scored from second on a Meier single to center field. Meier then stole second and crossed the plate on a Waters single through the left side. The Jaguars manufactured a couple of runs in the top of the ninth, but with two outs and runners in scoring position, Marco Levari recorded a strikeout to end the game.

Vincent Bashara (2-0) got the decision after throwing a scoreless frame in the fifth. He gave up one hit and hit one batter. Blake Morgan was tagged for the one run in a four-inning start. He allowed two hits, issued two walks and finished with three strikeouts. Trent Buchanan scattered four hits and was responsible for two unearned runs, tallying eight strikeouts in 3.2 innings out of the pen.

At the plate, Edwards finished 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Waters (2-for-3) homered, doubled, drove in two runs and scored twice in a 2-for-3 outing. Ticer went yard in his lone at bat, and Cole, Holman and Jones all batted 1-for-3.

The two teams have an early start tomorrow with an 11 a.m. first pitch for the series finale.