The ODU Effect
Norfolk Tides able to rally back to .500 on night dedicated to Old Dominion University
The bright stadium lights that can be seen all the way from Macarthur Mall and kids decked out in jerseys, Tides and Monarchs, let Norfolk know that baseball is back, in case they didn’t get the memo last week. The Gwinnett Braves (5-5), a minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves traveled up I-95 to kick off a six-game series with the Tides (5-5) on Saturday evening. Big Blue had to make a special appearance as well as the rest of Monarch Nation as the Atlantic Bay Mortgage hosted Old Dominion University Night at Harbor Park in downtown Norfolk. Special ticket discounts were available for ODU students, faculty, staff and alumni.
The game had many exciting moments, including a solid performance from Jason Pridie who went 3-4 from the plate and scored two runs as well as knocking in two RBIs. The Tides had a 4-1 lead going in to the sixth inning, but gave up five runs over the next two innings to find their selves down going into the homestretch of the game. Despite their hot streak in the sixth and seventh, the Braves couldn’t withstand a rally by the Tides. The eighth inning that the Tides had showed their clutch factor, loading the bases and scoring three runs to take the lead 7-6 in the process. Old Dominion sophomore Ryan Bailey jokingly thought, “The ODU presence was the deciding factor in the game.” The crowd was present all throughout the game, with a final count of 7,064 on hand at Harbor Park.
The skies were clear but the air was a bit nippy, maybe working to the advantage of the Tides. The winning pitcher was Daniel Schlereth but not before Zach Britton put in five innings of work, only giving up two runs in his duration of duty. For Gwinnett, Right hand pitcher Omar Poveda threw for five innings and gave up four runs on five hits. Jairo Asencio got his third save of the season, as he was able to preserve the slim one run lead the Tides fought to get back in the eighth inning. Fans enjoyed the batting clinic from Tides third baseman Danny Valencia, who went 3-4, batting in one run as well. Tides fan and ODU Student Ashley Madison said she enjoyed the game, “Mostly because of the amount of hits that were in the game, and the home runs are always fun to watch and cheer for.” The teams combined for a total of 13 runs on 19 hits. The Braves stayed in the game mainly because of Ernesto Mejia’s three run homer, which was his team leading sixth of the season.
Other attendees of the game included the Old Dominion University Marching Band and the Dynasty Dance team. The Marching Band honored America by playing the tune of “God Bless America.” The Tides will look to continue their winning ways as they face the Braves at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA for four games.
By: Mitchell Brown