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| December 21, 2014

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ODU Baseball versus Temple

ODU Baseball versus Temple
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Ride and Broom: McGowan, Eldridge and Urps lead turbo charged bats in route to weekend sweep over Owls

Austin McGowan led a sixth inning splurge with an RBI double to deep right-center and scored on a wild pitch to cap off a three game sweep over Temple, Sunday afternoon at Bud Metheney Baseball Complex.

McGowan led all Monarchs at the plate with that hit and run, and went one-for-four on the day. Tyler Urps also recorded a hit and a walk.

Brad Gero picked up his second win of the season in relief for ODU while Patrick Peterson took the loss.

After five scoreless innings, which saw four runners left on base, Tyler Urps led off the inning with a walk and stole second. On the ensuing at-bat, McGowan found a pitch across the plate and belted it to deep right-center and scored Urps from second to put the Monarchs up 1-0. McGowan moved over to third after Ben Verlander’s sacrifice bunt and later scored on a wild pitch in route to a 2-0 Monarchs lead.

“That at bat, it was kind of a bunt situation, so coach Finwood pulled me over and said, ‘Hey, let’s try and deke him into thinking we’re bunting and maybe you can get a fastball you can hammer’,” McGowan said of the plan. “And [I] got fortunate enough [that] the guy left a fastball and [I] just put a good swing on it.”

McGowan explained how vital the pitching staff was to carry the torch the rest of the way. “We’re just trying to stick with the same approach as we’ve had the whole weekend, which is just keep hunting fastballs and keep getting heads to baseballs. It just worked out, just stick with it and good things happen,” McGowan said.
Head coach Chris Finwood also explained McGowan’s crucial at bat and confirmed the strategy involved.

“[Tyler] Urps did a good job drawing the walk to lead off the inning. And then I just told Mack [McGowan] ‘Okay, they think we’re [going to] bunt here so let’s just take a shot 0-0 and you try to drive one, and if you miss it then we’ll try to bunt.’ And he did a great job,” Finwood said. “He knocked it to the wall and we [were] able to score the run. Ben Verlander does a good job sacrificing him up and we score on a wild pitch. Sometimes you’ve [got to] win in different ways and we won the first two games with a lot of offense. And then today we won with a lot of pitching and defense. So, it’s good to be able to win with whatever way it takes to win that day.”

Starter Andy Roberts, Gero and Smith combined to give up no runs off just four hits and fanned six Temple batters.

“Well, Andy’s a guy we’ve been wanting to get out there. He’d been a little bit tender arm-wise so he didn’t throw [the] first two weekends. And we got him out there today and [he] gives us five and two thirds shutout innings,” Finwood said. “And I thought he really mixed his pitches in well, the change-up was working good for him and Parker’s playing big today so you can get away with some mistakes in the middle of the field. And Brad, he’s been sold as a rock force out of the bullpen.”

“And I thought it was Brandon Smith’s best performance of the year. His stuff was back to kind of where it was at the end of the year last year. His first couple of outings this year has just [been] a little bit out of kilter but today, he was right on it. It was nice to see that 92 [mile an hour fastball] bend in the ninth. So, guys pitched great, I’m really proud of them.”

Temple’s Michael D’Acunti led the Owls offensively with two hits and a walk.

Both Patrick and Eric Peterson combined for two runs off four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in the loss.

On Saturday, McGowan recorded three hits and Eldridge belted his first home run of the 2013 campaign to push the Monarchs to a 12-5 smashing of the Owls in the second game of the series.

Urps led off the game with a single and moved over to third followed by McGowan’s infield single. Then, Eldridge hit a home to give ODU a three run lead.

The Monarchs later answered with five runs in the fifth to blow the game wide open, an inning capped off by Joey Burney’s RBI double to right field that scored pinch-runner Dylan Hall to give the Monarchs an 8-2 cushion.

Then ODU started to turn the tables over in the seventh. They scored four more runs on a pair of Temple errors and another McGowan single that essentially put the game away.

Eldridge led all Monarch batters with a pair of hits and four RBIs. Burney and Ben Slaton also had two hits apiece. Peterson and Lustrino added two hits of their own in the game.

Eric Baker took the mound for three innings and did not allow a single hit to pick up his second win of the year.

Friday’s game wasn’t much different. Both Urps and Verlander combined for three hits apiece and Dean Ali took the mound for six innings of solid work in ODU’s 9-2 thumping over the Owls in the series opener.

The home team added three more runs in the fifth after Perez’s two-run double to left center. Urps followed up with a single to bring him home.

After the Owls scored a run in their half of the same inning, Verlander followed up two innings later in the seventh with a lead off triple. He later scored on a wild pitch.

Ali gave up just a single run off four hits in six innings, while Mike Ney and Mitch Monyihan closed out the contest.

McGowan admitted how good it felt to such a young ball club to grab a sweep over a team like Temple.

“It’s big, I think it’s [going to] hopefully lead into this week. Hopefully, it’ll carry over and [we’ll have] some momentum.”

Finwood later conquered with his designated hitter regarding how this sweep boosts team confidence and moral in the clubhouse.

“It’s hard to sweep people in college baseball and we didn’t sweep anybody last year. We got swept a few times, but this is a good stepping stone for us, I think,” Finwood said.
“That was a team that we had a bunch of close games with last year when they came in here.”

By. Brian Jerry


Senior Writer

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