Old Dominion baseball beats Norfolk State 7-1 in season opener

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Posted at 7:25 PM, Feb 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-21 00:17:57-05

NORFOLK, Va. ( – 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.

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.