All Sports Schedule

Monarchs Top No. 10 Cavaliers, 7-4 to Win the Commonwealth Classic

Bruce Butler

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion Baseball jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and held No. 10 Virginia to one run through eight innings as the Monarchs won the Commonwealth Classic 7-4 on Tuesday night at Harbor Park.
"I was proud of how we competed against a very good UVA team," said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood. "We had some big at bats and pitched really well tonight! The guys came to play and Harbor Park has been a special place for us. What a great crowd and atmosphere for college baseball!"
A crowd of 4,082 turned out to see the Classic, the first time ODU has been able to host a game at Harbor Park in several years due to COVID, weather and travel issues. It also marked the fourth time the two programs have played each other in the Classic and was ODU's third win over a ranked opponent this season.
The Monarchs (19-17) got off to a quick start with three runs in their first turn at the plate. Kyle Edwards hit a one-out single through the left side and then moved up to third on a Luke Waters single to center field. Kenny Levari brought both of them in with a double through the right side, and he came around on a muffed catch by Virginia's first baseman.
TJ Aiken pushed the lead to 4-0 in the second as the freshman beat out a bunt single, moved up two bases on a wild pitch, and scored on an Edwards single to left. The Cavaliers (28-9) manufactured their first run of the game in the top of the third as Eric Becker singled, stole second, advanced on a wild pitch and tagged up on an Ethan Anderson sacrifice fly to right.
ODU would get the run back in the fourth. After a leadoff walk by Evan Holman and a Maverick Stallings single through the left side, Aiken sacrificed himself to move the pair into scoring position. UVA then conceded another run in exchange for an out as Edwards grounded out to short, allowing Holman to come home.
The lead swelled to 7-1 in the home half of the fifth. Waters was hit by a pitch before Jake Ticer singled to the gap in right and proceeded to steal second as ODU tried to tempt a throw by the Virginia catcher. A base hit by Holman to center field was enough to score both runners.
Virginia came into the game as the national leaders in hits, doubles and runs, but struggled to get anything going for most of the game. Steven Trone retired the side in the fourth and Nick Sulpizio struck out three straight batters after giving up a leadoff hit in the seventh. Lincoln Ransom then entered the game in the eighth and took care of the Cavaliers in order. UVA finally got some offense going in the ninth thanks to three walks, a wild pitch, a balk and a couple of singles. However, it was too little too late for the Wahoos as Vincent Bashara notched his second strikeout to end the game.
Brandon Pond (1-2) picked up his first win as a Monarch in what was a staff day for ODU. The senior from Chesterfield, Virginia allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out three in 2.2 innings pitched. Trone held the visitors to one hit and struck out one batter in 2.1 scoreless frames while Sulpizio led both teams with four strikeouts through two innings in relief.
Edwards drove in two runs and scored another in a 2-for-5 outing. Stallings turned in a 2-for-4 performance and Ticer also finished 2-for-4 with one run and a swiped bag. Holman (1-for-3) drove in two runs and added a run and a walk to his totals, Aiken (1-for-3) came around once, Waters (1-for-3) contributed two runs, and Levari (1-for-4) doubled with a run and an RBI.
Next up for the Monarchs is a trip to Huntington, West Virginia this weekend for a Sun Belt series with Marshall.