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Strong Outings from Cassady and Holobetz Help Monarchs Secure 7-1 Win Over JMU

Bruce Butler

NORFOLK, Va. Jay Cassady and John Holobetz had a shutout going through eight and a third innings as Old Dominion Baseball won its Royal Rivalry series opener 7-1 over James Madison on Friday night at Bud Metheny Ballpark.

"The guys played well tonight," said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood. "Jay and John pitched really well and we had some big hits and played good defense. All around good performance against a very good team. We will have to play that way again tomorrow to have a chance to win. Proud of our effort and competitiveness tonight!"

Cassady started the game and held the Dukes (20-13, 6-7 Sun Belt) to just one hit and one walk in four innings pitched, a new season high for the senior left hander from Burke, Virginia. He finished his outing with six strikeouts, five of them swinging. Holobetz (3-4) took over from there and kept the visitors off the scoreboard until the top of the ninth. The Pottsville, Pennsylvania native allowed the one run while scattering four hits, issuing one free pass and striking out three.

The Monarchs (17-16, 6-7) broke through with three runs in the bottom of the second. Alex Bouche led off with a single up the middle, took second on a Kenny Levari walk, and was sent home on a Maverick Stallings single to left field. Evan Holman brought in Levari from second with a single through the right side, and TJ Aiken plated Stallings with a bunt to the right side of the pitcher's mound that JMU starter Ryan Murphy couldn't make a play on.

ODU went up 4-0 in the fifth. With two outs, a couple of base hits by Kyle Edwards and Steven Meier placed runners on the corners. The Monarchs then attempted a delayed double steal, with Edwards scoring while Meier was caught in a 2-4-3 rundown. Meanwhile Holobetz retired six straight JMU batters in the fifth and sixth for his first two innings of work.

With two away in the sixth, Levari doubled to right field before Stallings collected another RBI with a single through the left side. Holobetz gave up a leadoff single to JMU's Coleman Calabrese in the seventh, but Edwards caught a Ryan Dooley pop up to left center, wheeled around and threw back to Bouche in time to double up Calabrese.

ODU pushed its lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the seventh. Holman earned a base on balls, Aiken singled to left and the pair both moved up on a wild pitch. Holman then tagged up on a Meier sacrifice fly to center field. JMU brought in reliever Kleinfelter to face the Monarchs in the eighth, but he issued a pair of four-pitch walks to Bouche and Levari. The Dukes retired the next two Monarch batters, but Holman smacked the first pitch he saw through the left side of the defense. Bouche ran home on the play, and JMU's throw to the plate may have gotten Bouche in time, but catcher Jason Schiavone couldn't control the ball as he turned to make the tag.

In the ninth, Stallings made a difficult catch over the shoulder to retire leadoff man Fenwick Trimble. Mike Mancini then tried to stretch a single to left into a double, but Bryce Jones' throw to Stallings was in time for the second out. Jack Guerrero pinch hit for Calabrese, drew a walk and came around on a Dooley double to right center to break up the shutout. That was all Holobetz would allow though as he got Ike Schmidly to ground out to third to end the game.

Holman went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, one run and a walk while Aiken also finished 2-for-3 and drove in a run. It marked the first career multi-hit game for the freshman from Greenwood, South Carolina. Stallings (2-for-4) ended up with two RBIs and scored once, Levari (1-for-2) doubled, walked twice and added two runs, Bouche (1-for-3) contributed two runs and one base on balls, Meier (1-for-3) picked up an RBI and Edwards (1-for-4) crossed the plate once.

The two teams return to The Bud tomorrow for a 4 p.m. start to Game Two. The game was originally scheduled for 3 p.m., but was moved back so that fans can also attend ODU Football's Spring Game.