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Monarchs Pull Away Late, Run Rule ULM 15-5


NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion Baseball scored nine runs over the final four innings to run rule ULM, 15-5 in eight innings on Sunday morning at Bud Metheny Ballpark. With the win, ODU has now captured three straight Sun Belt series victories.

Kenny Levari sparked the offense with a 4-for-5 day at the plate. The senior from Vineland, New Jersey homered twice, doubled, drove in five runs and scored another three. Kyle Edwards finished 3-for-6 with two doubles, two RBIs, one run and a pair of swiped bags. Maverick Stallings hit 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs, and Cole Hunter and Steven Meier both batted 1-for-1 with a double and a run as Meier added two RBIs to his totals.

Trent Buchanan (4-1) picked up the win and allowed three runs on five hits in 4.1 innings of work. Dylan Brown started the game and gave up one run on three hits and a walk while striking out four through two frames.

"I was really proud of our effort today," said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood. "After a tough extra-inning loss and back-to-back extra-inning games, our guys came out and had fantastic energy again on a Sunday. It was an early day and we showed up ready to play."

The Monarchs (24-19, 11-10 Sun Belt) got out to a quick start with five runs on as many hits and an error in the bottom of the first inning. Edwards hit a one-out double to right center, Luke Waters was hit by a pitch, and Jake Ticer singled through the right side for a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch allowed Waters to score and Ticer to move up to second, and Levari made it a 4-0 advantage with a two-run blast to right center. Evan Holman singled up the middle, advanced to second on another wild pitch, and ran to third on a Bryce Jones single to left. ULM's left fielder looked to field the ball in shallow left, but overran the ball and the error allowed Holman to come around.

ODU couldn't get comfortable though as ULM responded with a five-run top of the third to pull even. Bryce Blaser led off with a double to left center and reached third on a fielding error by Jones. A Colby Lunsford ground out to short plated ULM's first run of the game, and another ground ball to second made it two outs with nobody on. Shawn Wetherbee and Easton Winfield kept the inning going with a pair of base hits, and Jake Haggard was plunked to run the bags full. Jayson Zmejkoski drove in three with a double down the left-field line, and another fielding error allowed Zmejkoski to move up to third on the play. The Warhawks (19-24, 7-14) then knotted the score at 5-5 on a Matt Abshire double down the left-field line.

Old Dominion didn't have to wait long to come up with a response as Levari homered for the second time in the bottom of the third. With one out, he connected on a 1-1 offering and sent a no-doubter over the scoreboard in right field. The Monarchs added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth to go up 8-5. Alex Bouche reached on a throwing error by the ULM shortstop, advanced to third on a Levari double down the right-field line, and scored on a Holman ground out to short. ODU loaded the bases with two outs in the next inning, and Bouche got to first on a fielder's choice as the ULM shortstop tried to get the force out at third. His throw couldn't be caught by the third baseman, and the error allowed TJ Aiken to come home.

The offense wasn't done though. With runners on the corners in the seventh, a Meier sacrifice bunt brought in Holman from third. Two batters later, Stallings crossed the plate on an Edwards base knock to center field. In the eighth, Levari came up to the plate with no outs and runners in scoring position and delivered a two RBI single to right center. After a single by Stallings, Meier drove in Levari with a double to right and then Stallings scored on an Aiken ground out to second. An Edwards double to left then plated Meier and brought the game to a close.

"A couple things went their way and they tied the game at 5-5 in the third, but we outscored them 10-0 after that," added Finwood. "Big day from Kenny Levari with two homers and five RBIs and Kyle Edwards with a couple doubles and three RBIs. Trent Buchanan did the job for us out of the pen again. That's five of the seven series wins in Sun Belt play and we have won all four of our home series."

ODU does not have a midweek game this week. Up next for the Monarchs is a road trip to San Marcos, Texas next weekend for a Sun Belt meeting with Texas State.