Baseball Monarchs Open Season At Wake Forest Invitational

February 17, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Feb. 17, 2009

NORFOLK, Va. -- The ODU Baseball Monarchs open the 2009 season this weekend as they head to Winston-Salem, N.C. to play in the Wake Forest Invitational for four games. First pitch on Friday, February 20 is set for 2:30 pm as ODU will battle Marshall.

The Monarchs will play a twin bill on Saturday as they face Marshall again at 11:00am and then later in the day square off against host Wake Forest at 6:00 pm. ODU will face Akron in the finale on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The Monarchs home opener will be a three game series against Saint Joseph's beginning Friday, Feb. 27 at 3:00 p.m. at the Bud Metheny Complex.

The 2009 Monarchs will be a youthful squad which will feature 14 newcomers along with three seniors and six juniors. In all, ODU returns five position regulars and four pitchers.

The Monarchs lost six key regulars from a year ago which include four All-CAA honorees and four pitchers who were selected in the Major League Baseball draft. The losses include two-time All-CAA outfielder Jimmy Miles, All-CAA designated hitter and team homerun leader David Burns, and two time-All-CAA pitchers Dan Hudson and Anthony Shawler. Also gone are starting firstbaseman and RBI leader Bryan Cipolla, secondbaseman Chris Keenan and pitchers Ryan Bergh, and Dexter Carter. Bergh, Hudson, Shawler and Carter were selected in the baseball draft.

Leading the Monarchs returnees is senior outfielder Max Most who ranked fifth in the CAA in stolen bases with 20 and hit three homers with 22 RBI. Junior thirdbaseman JakeMcAloose hit.285 with four homers and 28 RBI. Fellow infielders Gerard Hall is the top returning hitter at .361 with 13 stolen bases and Chris Buss hit .257 with 18 RBI.

Behind the plate, the Monarchs will have solid depth with sophomore Edgar Hernandez who hit four homers with 24 RBI. The Monarchs will also be expecting major contributions from returning catchers Joe Velleggia, who missed most of last season with an injury and Donnie Corsner. Other impact returnees include outfielders Cameron Scott, Chris Baker, and firstbaseman John Malbon .

On the mound, ODU will be looking for returnees to add stability to a young corp. Sophomore lefthander Kyle Hald was 3-3 with a complete game and two saves, followed by junior lefthander Corey Toth, who tallied two saves. Sophomores Robbie Watkins, and Seniors Matt Walls and Brady Burchill, will also be counted on for strong contributions.

Head coach Jerry Meyers and his staff brought in an outstanding group of newcomers which will give the Monarchs a bright look for the future. Heading the list are junior college standouts Chris Boggs, a righthander from Louisburg Junior College, and infielder Austin Wright from Pitt Community College. Freshman newcomers include pitchers Erick Baker, Chris Hardee, Brett Harris, Phil McCarthy, Zach Miller, Shawn Sizemore, Brandon Smith and Ben Tomchick. Freshmen position players include Brent Frazier, Hunter Parrish, Brandon Shelton, and Kenny Stoneback.

"We are excited and looking forward to the 2009 season. We will face a very challenging schedule both in and out of conference," said Jerry Meyers. " Our squad will feature a well rounded attack offensively and should be a team that can defend well. On the mound, we will rely on our depth. Our returning pitchers have continued to develop and our newcomers will be ready to make an immediate impact."

This year's ODU schedule will feature 29 home games. Playing at the Bud Metheny Complex for weekend- series will be Rutgers, St. Joseph's, Fairleigh Dickinson, along with single game dates with Maryland, Richmond, Liberty, Elon, VMI, and Longwood.

On the road, ODU will open the season at Wake Forest's Tournament that include Marshall, Akron and the host Demon Deacons. ODU will play single games at traditional NCAA powers South Carolina, North Carolina, East Carolina along with Maryland, Richmond, UNC Greensboro, Elon, VMI, Longwood and Liberty.

This year, the Colonial Athletic Association slate will have eight three game series. ODU will host George Mason, Hofstra, William and Mary and UNC Wilmington. The Monarchs will travel to Delaware, James Madison, Georgia State, and VCU. As part of the CAA rotation, the Monarchs will not play Northeastern and Towson this season.

The CAA Baseball Championships will be played at Brooks Field in Wilmington, NC, May 14-16. The annual ODU-Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles AAA Affiliate) Scholarship exhibition game is scheduled for April 7 at Harbor Park in downtown Norfolk.