Coutney surges into national home run lead, sets new ODU record

Matt Coutney ODU baseball
Posted at 11:21 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 23:21:24-04

NORFOLK, VA (WKTR)- Matt Coutney says he doesn't try to hit home runs, he just tries to put the bat on the ball and hit line drives.

"I've just been getting lucky," the Old Dominion senior smiled. "That's the best way to put it right now."

Whatever the reason, and regardless of how he feels it's happening, Coutney has been hitting the ball out of the yard at record pace. His two home runs during Sunday's loss to Florida Atlantic brought his season total to 21 round-trippers, breaking the program record that had stood since 1997.

"It still hasn't sunken in yet," he said on Monday. "It's been 25 years since it's been broken and that was before I was even born, so over the next few days I'm sure it will sink in."

"He's just been on a tear. I've never seen anything like it," added Old Dominion head coach Chris Finwood. "Happy for him and he's put a lot of work into it. He's the single-season record holder now with four-plus weeks to play so he should shatter that mark."

Coutney also anchors a club that has seen the long ball become a big part of its offensive identity. Entering the week, the Monarchs have clubbed 88 home runs, second in NCAA Division I behind only Tennessee (93). Coutney's 21 homers lead all hitters nationally. Not far behind are teammates Andy Garriola (18), Carter Trice (15) and Robbie Petracci (10). Those four made up the first four spots in the line-up during ODU's series win over Florida Atlantic this past weekend.

"Confidence is through the roof right now," Coutney said. "In sports, I feel like that's so important, especially in baseball where you could go 4-for-4 one day and then 0-for-4 the next. It's just the way the game is."

Rightfully so, Coutney has earned back-to-back Conference USA Hitter of the Week honors. The past week saw him go 7-for-14 at the plate with five home runs and eight RBI.

Coutney and the Monarchs get back to work on Friday when they open a three game set with Louisiana Tech. First pitch at Bud Metheny Baseball Stadium is set for 6:00 PM.