NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion University baseball scored five runs in the third inning and featured two more big innings to deliver a 14-8 win over Western Kentucky in game one of the final Conference USA regular season series.
“We were ready to go offensively, putting up 14 runs on a Friday. It was a good offensive performance for us,” ODU head coach Chris Finwood said. “Give them credit for getting back in it, but give our guys credit, once they made it 8-7 we took it back after that. It wasn’t a day where the ball was flying, we had to manufacture some runs and we did a good job of that.”
The Monarchs got on the board first when Kyle Battle led off with a double, moved to third on a Kenny Levari ground out and scored on a Carter Trice ground out.
ODU pushed its lead to 6-0 with a five-spot in the third. Matt Coutney worked a bases loaded walk to score Carter Trice, who doubled to lead off the inning, to make the score 2-0 and Tommy Bell drilled a two-run double for a 4-0 ODU lead. Ryan Teschko singled to score a run and Battle followed with a sacrifice fly for the sixth run of the inning.
WKU got back in the game in the fourth when Mike Phipps hit a two-run homer, and the Hilltoppers scored two more in the fifth.
ODU stormed back with three runs in the fifth to push the lead to 8-4. Matt Coutney led off the inning with a bunt single, and then three-straight ODU batters were hit by a pitch, as Teschko’s plunking scored Coutney. Levari followed with a sac fly and Trice singled home Tommy Bell for the 8-4 lead.
The Hilltoppers again battled back with four in the sixth, but so did the Monarchs. Brock Gagliardi led off the inning with a towering home run to right. Later in the inning, Teschko delivered a two-run single and Levari knocked in his second RBI of the day with a single.
Bell capped the scoring in the eighth with a blast to left field for the final 14-8 score.
Bell and Gagliardi each had three hits for the Monarchs, as Bell drove in three and Teschko knocked in four.
Tommy Gertner started for the Monarchs and went four innings, giving up two runs on two hits with six strikeouts. Joey Rodriguez got the win, striking out Phipps with the bases loaded in the fifth. Jason Hartline pitched 3.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen for his first save of the season and second of his career.
The two teams are back at it tomorrow with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.