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Monarch Bats Come Alive in 15-4 Win Over No. 20 Chanticleers

Bob McCool/Coastal Carolina Athletics

CONWAY, S.C. – After dropping the series opener at No. 20 Coastal Carolina 9-2 on Friday, Old Dominion baseball bounced back in a big way on Saturday as the Monarchs evened the series with a dominant 15-4 win over the Chanticleers.

The Monarchs (16-14, 5-6 Sun Belt) set season highs in runs, hits (19), and home runs (6). ODU had at least one base runner in every inning and scored in all but two innings, to include posting crooked numbers in four frames. The six long balls are the most by the program since ODU hit eight in a 21-5 win over Marshall on March 25 last year. The 19 hits also match the team's season high last season, a mark the Monarchs reached four times in 2023.

"The guys came to play today. Pitching, defense and timely hitting wins a lot of games. It's probably the best all-around game we have played this year," said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood.

ODU set the tone early with three runs in the top of the first. The first three Monarch batters reached as Kyle Edwards walked, Steven Meier singled to right, and Luke Waters also walked. Alex Bouche drove in two runs with a hit through the left side of the CCU defense and Nick Mueller made it 3-0 with a RBI base hit to right.

The Monarchs went up 4-0 in the second inning as Meier singled through the left side and then scored on a Hunter Cole double down the left-field line. The Chanticleers (21-9, 6-5) responded in the bottom of the inning as Graham Brown led off with a solo shot to left field. The sides continued to trade blows in the third as Evan Holman singled in Kenny Levari from third for a 5-1 advantage. However, an ODU fielding error, a Blake Barthol double to center field, and a couple of RBI ground outs helped the home team trim the Monarch lead to 5-3.

ODU and Coastal both plated runs in the fifth as Bouche led off with a no-doubter to left and the Chants strung together two singles and a double in response. The hosts looked to continue the damage with one out and runners on first and second, but Jacob Gomez entered the game and retired the next two batters.

That's when the Monarch bats started to heat back up. Waters pushed the lead to 8-4 with a two-run bomb in the sixth. In the eighth, Meier scored from third on a Bouche single to left. Levari then hit a two-run homer to left center and Mueller went back-to-back with a solo blast of his own, also to left center. It marked his first long ball as a Monarch.

ODU's offense wasn't done though as Maverick Stallings and Edwards both went yard to start the top of the ninth. Later in the inning with two outs and runners on first and second, Levari doubled down the right-field line to drive in the final run of the game.

Blake Morgan (2-0) earned the win after allowing three runs, only one of them earned, on four hits and one walk. He added one strikeout in 2.2 innings of work. Gomez picked up his fifth save of the season after holding CCU scoreless for 4.2 innings. He scattered three hits, tallied nine strikeouts, and struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth.

Nine different Monarchs collected a hit in the victory with eight of them turning in multi-hit performances. Bouche (3-for-6) finished with one home run, four RBIs and two runs scored. Meier (3-for-5) came around four times and added a walk to his totals. Holman and Stallings both went 2-for-4 with an RBI while Edwards, Waters, Levari and Mueller all batted 2-for-5.

"I'm proud of the guys for bouncing back this way after a rough game yesterday," added Finwood. "We played much tougher and that's what it takes. We will have to play just as well to win tomorrow. They have a very good team and we showed that we can play with them if we have that kind of grit and want to."

Sunday's rubber match is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Springs Brooks Stadium.