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Monarchs Unable to Complete the Series Sweep of South Alabama

Bruce Butler

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion baseball held a 2-1 lead for most of the game, but could not hold off South Alabama late as the Monarchs fell 5-3 in the Sun Belt series finale Saturday at Bud Metheny Ballpark.

ODU scored both of its runs in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Luke Waters opened the scoring with a solo home run to left center, his sixth long ball of the season. After Kyle Edwards walked and reached third base on a Kenny Levari single to first, the Monarchs (15-12, 4-5 Sun Belt) attempted a delayed double steal. USA was able to apply the tag on Levari, 2-6-3-4, but not before Edwards stole home for a 2-0 lead.

The Jaguars (16-12, 3-6) got back a run in the top of the second. Brennan Holt led off with a walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a Tyler Borges base hit to left field. Holt then came home on a JG Bell single to center field. In the top of the third, USA threatened to pull even with two outs and runners in scoring position, but Levari caught a line drive to get out of the inning.

Old Dominion squandered an opportunity in the fourth as Bryce Jones and Hunter Cole stole second and third, but with two outs Alex Bouche went down swinging. The Monarchs had another chance in the fifth as Steven Meier was hit by a pitch and stole second. Waters then singled to right field, but USA's throw to third base was in time to retire Meier.

A one-out single and back-to-back walks allowed South Alabama to load the bases in the top of the seventh. Bailey Matela struck out the first batter he faced, but plunked the next batter to knot the score at 2-2. Maverick Stallings then fielded a ground ball and flipped to Bouche at first to prevent any further damage.

However, Borges put the Jags in front 3-2 with a two-out blast to left in the eighth. The visitors then tacked on two more runs in the ninth as Will Turner homered to right field and a Borges single to shortstop scored Joseph Sullivan from third. Meier gave ODU some hope with a two-out homer down the right-field line, but Waters flew out to right center to end the game.

Matela (1-2) took the loss after giving up the go-ahead run. He allowed one hit, hit two batters and added a strikeout in 1.2 innings in relief. Dylan Brown held the Jags to one run on three hits, two walks and one hit batter. He tallied four strikeouts in a 2.2 inning start. Ben Moore went 3.1 innings, gave up one run one hit and two walks, and struck out five.

For ODU's bats, Waters went 2-for-4 with the long ball and added a walk and a stolen base to his totals. Levari also had a 2-for-4 day at the plate, Meier hit 1-for-3 with the home run, a swiped bag, a sacrifice hit and a hit by pitch, and Cole was plunked and swiped a bag in a 1-for-3 performance.

The Monarchs will make their second trip to Charlottesville on Tuesday to take on No. 9 Virginia. First pitch at Davenport Field at Disharoon Park is scheduled for 6 p.m.