NORFOLK, Va. (ODUSports.com) – Four Old Dominion pitchers combined for a three-hitter and a big fourth inning led the Old Dominion Baseball Monarchs to a 7-1 win over Norfolk State in the season-opener on Saturday afternoon.
“I thought we pitched very well and had a couple of big hits in the fourth to break open a close game. It’s early and we left way too many runners in scoring position. Something we hope to do a better job of tomorrow,” ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood said. “It’s great to be back out on the diamond. We’ve missed it a lot! It was nice to see all the fans that came out to support us.”
After three scoreless innings to begin the game, the Monarchs broke through with a six-run, fourth inning. Brock Galiardi led off the inning with a single, and after NSU pitcher Ridge Walker got the next two outs, Chris Dengler dropped a bunt single and Kyle Battle walked. Thomas Wheeler followed with a two-run single for the first runs of the game and Andy Garriola followed with a two-run double to give ODU a 4-0 lead. Matt Coutney followed with a towering two-run homer to right field to give the Monarchs a six-run inning.
In @ODUBaseball's season opener, the Monarchs picked up a 7-1 win vs. the @NSUSpartans— Megan Plain (@MeganPlain) February 21, 2021
Game recap: https://t.co/YQmUjhSJ3V
Here's head coach Chris Finwood's (@CoachFinny5) thoughts on ODU's first game of the season⬇️ pic.twitter.com/OcclpunXe1
The Monarchs tacked on another run in the sixth inning. Dengler walked to lead off the inning and Battle was next with a single, as a hustling Dengler went first to third and Battle advanced to second on the throw. Wheeler followed with a single to center to drive in Dengler for a 7-0 NSU lead.
The Spartans tacked on a run in the ninth on an RBI ground out from Rhay Street.
The Monarchs were dominant on the mound as Hunter Gregory earned the win with four no-hit innings with eight strikeouts and three walks. Aaron Holiday followed with three shutout innings, giving up just two hits with four strikeouts. Jason Hartline pitched a scoreless eighth and Joey Rodriguez finished the ninth for the Monarchs.
Wheeler was 2-for-3 with three RBI’s and a run scored in his ODU debut, while Gagliardi was 2-for-2 with a single and double and reached base all four times.
ODU and NSU are back on the diamond tomorrow at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex at 2 p.m.