Old Dominion Baseball went into the weekend trying to muster a winning record. The Monarchs entered the series against Rutgers at an even 1-1 and were hoping to gather momentum from a series against the Scarlet Knights. Mother Nature did not want to cooperate as Friday’s game was brutally cold and no Saturday contest took place because of soggy conditions.
On Friday, Dean Ali took the mound for Old Dominion for the first time in the 2013 season and did not fare well. The Monarchs were blanked by the Scarlet Knights 3-0 and were held to four hits, two of which came from freshman outfielder Connor Meyers. Meyers was able to knock two singles into play. For Rutgers, Jeff Melillo hit a solo home run in the second inning and tacked on two runs in the eighth inning to solidify the series opening victory. Rutgers mustered five hits, but that was enough to stall the Monarchs on Friday afternoon. According to odusports.com, “The Monarchs had an opportunity to score in the first inning as Tyler Urps got hit by a pitch to lead off the game while Jordan Negrini got a two-out single but Smorol got a fly out to end the threat. Reliever Nathaniel Roe pitched a scoreless ninth to record the save.”
Sunday was a double header that consisted of two nine inning matchups, one cracking off at noon sharp and the other following 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Weather was better as the temperatures reached high 40s and had a nice spring-like breeze, perfect weather for baseball. For the noon matchup, Brad Gero (1-1) was able to get the win against the Scarlet Knights Rob Corsi, who got a no contest through 6 innings pitched. Originally taking the mound was Ryan Yarbough for the Monarchs and Tyler Gebler for Rutgers. Jordan Negrini was able to get two hits and bring in one run, coming in the leadoff inning for the Monarchs. Scoring runs for the Knights was Nick Favatella, Jeff Melillo, and Ross Costello. Melillo had been consistent throughout the whole weekend, giving the Monarchs serious headaches. The Monarchs prevailed in the first of two 4-3 in a back and forth affair.
In the series finale, the Scarlet Knights were able to find their bats and have a field day with the pitchers of Old Dominion. Tommy Alexander didn’t last long at all for the Monarchs, pitching 1.1 innings and then being relieved. Howie Brey of Rutgers pitched four solid innings, only giving up two hits and two runs. For Old Dominion, Pat Kane and Michael Perez had three RBIs apiece, while Connor Meyers was able to continue his steady progression, batting in one run. Perez also had three runs to cap a good performance. Nick Favatella came through for Rutgers fans as he put on a show, cracking four hits, matching his teammate Vinny Zarrillo. Ross Costello had six RBIs, a career high for the first baseman. The game mercifully ended, with the Scarlet Knights leaving Old Dominion with a bitter 17-7 loss on their minds.
Old Dominion will take the field against the Spiders of the University of Richmond on the road and then travel to Virginia Military Institute before heading back to the Bud to face Temple in what should pan out to be an interesting, yet exciting series.
By Mitchell Brown