RUSTON, La. - It's been a season for the ages for the Old Dominion University baseball team.
The Monarchs, currently ranked No. 24 in the nation by D1baseball.com, have 38 victories in 2021 - the program's highest win total since 2006. ODU will be able to add to that number of victories, too - as the Monarchs are a lock to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
ODU (38-and-14) does not need to win the Conference USA tournament and secure the league's automatic bid in order to advance to the 64-team NCAA Tournament. The Monarchs, with an RPI of 12 - tops in C-USA, will earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament if they stumble in the Conference USA tournament.
However, ODU wants to win the C-USA crown - and make history in the process. The Monarchs have not won a conference tournament title since claiming the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) crown in 1996. They've never won the Conference USA tournament.
"This should be the fun part of the year," head coach Chris Finwood told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler. "The guys have done a lot of the hard work all year to put themselves in this spot, so now we have to go take advantage of it."
"It would be awesome," ODU pitcher Tom Scheffler said of the possibility of winning the Conference USA tournament. "It would be cool to get a picture up on the wall in the outfield. But we talk about it all the time: take it one game at a time. The game rewards hard work, and that shows in our record."
ODU opens Conference USA tournament play Wednesday at 10 a.m. vs. Florida Atlantic.