NORFOLK, Va. (ODUSports.com) – Playing in its final Saturday doubleheader of the season, the 23rd-ranked Old Dominion baseball team split a pair of games with Western Kentucky at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex. The Monarchs (35-14, 21-10 C-USA) overcame an early deficit in a 6-3 victory in game one before nearly completing a six-run comeback in a 7-6 extra-innings loss in the second game.
Game 1: ODU 6, WKU 3
Ryan Teschko hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to break a 3-3 deadlock in the first game of the day.
The Hilltoppers (25-26, 15-16) scored two in the top of the second to jump ahead early. The Monarchs responded with a three-spot in the bottom of the third to take their first lead of the day at 3-2. Tommy Bell singled with one out then scored two batters later when Kyle Battle singled into left field. After a groundout from Kenny Levari, Carter Trice hit an infield single to drive home Teschko. Andy Garriola completed the scoring in the frame with another single to bring Battle around.
ODU’s advantage lasted all of four pitches as Matthew Meyer led off the top of the fourth with a homer over the wall in left. Monarchs starter Hunter Gregory then recorded three quick outs to set up Teschko’s go-ahead blast. A sophomore from National Park, New Jersey, Teschko went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two driven home in game one.
Gregory worked around a one-out single in the top of the fifth to punctuate his start. The right-hander allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits and three walks and struck out three en route to his seventh win of the season. Gregory then handed the ball over to Noah Dean, who scattered a pair of hits while striking out four over the final two innings of the game for his seventh save.
A solid piece of two-out hitting from Levari produced the final run of the game. He doubled home Battle in the bottom of the sixth. Battle was 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the opener.
Sean Bergeron took the loss for WKU after allowing five runs, three earned, over 4.1 innings of work. Bergeron allowed six hits and fanned six.
Game 2: WKU 7, ODU 6 (8 innings)
Trailing 6-0 after four innings, the Monarchs were mere feet away from walking off against the Hilltoppers in the second game and eventually fell 7-6 in the eighth inning.
ODU entered the bottom of the seventh inning facing a 6-3 deficit. After a quick first out, the Monarchs strung together a Jared Hancock single and a double off the bat of Battle to put runners on second and third. Levari promptly grounded out, meaning Old Dominion needed three runs without an out to extend the game.
Trice put the first run of the seventh on the board when he hit a ball sharply off WKU starter Devyn Terbrak for an infield single that scored Hancock. The impact from Trice’s single also forced Terbrak, who was eying a complete game, off the mound.
Reliever Bailey Sutton promptly uncorked a wild pitch that scored Battle to make the score 6-5. After three-straight pitches outside the strike zone, Sutton surrendered a game-tying double to Garriola. With the winning run now 180 feet away, pinch hitter Brock Gagliardi hit a sharp single into left field. The Monarchs were aggressive on the bases, and Garriola tried to come home. WKU left fielder Junior Coleman’s throw home was on the first-base side of the plate, but Ricardo Leonett made the catch then got his body in front of the plate to cut down Garriola.
The Hilltoppers won the second game on their final swing of the bat. Gray knocked a one-out single into left before moving up to second on a walk. Facing his first batter of the game, ODU reliever Tom Scheffler got a line out to second base. The next batter, Kevin Lambert, singled into right field to score Gray, but Garriola threw out Richard Constantine as he attempted to advance to third.
ODU’s comeback began in earnest in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run pinch-hit homer from Lincoln Ransom that made the score 6-3.
WKU led 5-0 after two innings. Jackson Gray provided the early highlight with a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the second. ODU finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth with a run-scoring single from Battle. The senior from Glen Allen, Virginia added two more hits and another RBI in game two.
Sutton earned the win for WKU after getting the final out in the bottom of the seventh. Mason Vinyard pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth with two strikeouts for the save.
ODU starter Aaron Holiday allowed three runs, two earned, on five walks in 1.2 of work. Joey Rodriguez took the loss after giving up one run on one hit in 1.1 innings.
The Monarchs and Hilltoppers conclude the series tomorrow at noon.