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Dean Ali
Courtesy: Travis Bell

Campbell Defeats ODU 4-1 In 12 Innings At NCAA Regional

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: May 31, 2014
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COLUMBIA, SC--Campbell scored three runs in the top of the 12th innings to defeat the Monarchs, 4-1 in an elimination game in the NCAA Columbia, SC Regional.  The Monarchs, making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2000 and eighth overall finished the season at 36-26, while Campbell is 41-20 and will meet the loser of tonight's Maryland-South Carolina game on Sunday.

In the top of the 12th, with the bases loaded Elijah Trail singled home Drew Butler to give the Camels a 2-1 lead.  Brooks Borders then singled home Will Albertson and Seth LaRue followed him home on a ODU throwing error for a 4-1 lead. 

ODU's lone run came in the fourth inning as sophomore P.J. Higgins led off with a walk, followed by a single from senior firstbaseman Josiah Burney. Junior outfielder Taylor Ostrich hit into a double play, but Higgins scored from third to tie the game at 1-1.

Tyler Urps led ODU with two hits on the day, while senior righthander Dean Ali came in relief for starter Brett Harris in the fourth inning and went 5.2 innings allowing only one hit with four strikeouts.

Campbell took an early 1-0 in the second inning when Seth LaRue singled home Matt Parrish.

In the eighth, Tyler Urps led off with a hit and with two outs junior leftfielder Josh Eldridge was intentionally walked, but Higgins grounded out to end the inning.

Campbell reliever Ryan Thompson(7-2) picked up the win as he pitched five innings allowing only one hit and one walk with five strikeouts. This was the Monarchs eighth extra inning game this season. ODU finished 2-6. 

Freshman Nick Walker led the Monarchs with a .309 batting average, while sophomore PJ Higgins hit .308 with a team best 44 runs scored and Taylor Ostrich hit .306 and 70 baseball hits. Senior Josiah Burney hit 41 RBI with Ben Slaton knocking in 40.  Burney led with 17 doubles and six homers.

On the mound, Conner Overton had a 2.79 ERA, followed by Andy Roberts at 2.85 and Brad Gero at 2.87.  Gero finished with a ODU record 39 appearances along with a team and C-USA best 12 saves.

The Monarchs finished with a school record 68 doubleplays and  a .976 field percentage. 

 Old Dominion Head Coach Chris Finwood Quotes

"Well, it was another good ball game, and we’ve played a ton of those this year and another extra-inning game, we’ve played a ton of those this year. You have to give Campbell’s pitchers a lot of credit. They threw a lot of big pitches when they had to. I was really proud of our guys for how we pitched and fought hard. Dean (Ali) came in and gave us a tremendous performance out of the bullpen and pitched like a guy that didn’t want his career to end, and they just got a couple of hits and we walked some guys there in that last inning and that’s what hurt us. Heck of a ball game, and you’ve got to tip your hat to Campbell for winning the ball game. 

 On Campbell’s pitching staff…"They did a good job. We’ve had trouble with lefties like that, with a left-handed heavy lineup and he kept the ball down. He didn’t make a lot of mistakes in the middle of the zone. We had a couple of shots at him with first and third in one inning, and (Mike) Perez hits into a double play. He’s been one of our guys that has hit lefties real well, but he swung at a pitch down and rolled over to third base and turned two. (Ryan) Thompson is an All-American for a reason. He mixes his pitches well, and he’s got a lot of body movement to get you off, trying to figure out the window that the ball’s coming out of. He’s been their go-to guy. You’ve got to give him credit; he threw last night and then five today, and I think he threw every game in their conference tournament. When you have a workhorse like that down there, it’s pretty nice. They rode him to a win today. They’ve got a good club; they won 41 games for a reason. I was really proud of Dean (Ali), he came in there and gave us chance after chance. It’s one of those games that you see some of the time these days when we just could not get a big hit. We had plenty of opportunities. We felt like the right guys were up, but to their credit they had good pitches and we couldn’t get a hit for whatever reason. We swung the bat pretty good during the season but for the last 3-4 weeks we have been in that mode where we haven’t gotten those big hits, and that carried over into the regional, unfortunately."

 On what he hopes to take out of this experience…"I think it was a stepping stone, coming into a new league, Conference USA. We were picked to come in 10th in the preseason. Nobody expected a whole lot out of us, but the guys fought hard. We played a heck of a tough schedule, and the guys did some many good things. I told them to keep their heads up; they just got beat in two close games down here, and, for our younger guys, hopefully that’s a growing experience. When we get back, they can talk to the other guys about it. There’s a lot of truth to being said that you have to be there, and Old Dominion hasn’t been here in quite some time, so we hope this is a growing experience for us and we can continue to grow the program."

 On Dean Ali…"Dean’s one of those relievers that we call utility relievers. He can be a short guy; he can be a long guy. He started for us on Friday’s last season, but we just felt like we could use him more out of the bullpen. So, he’s gone five, six innings before when we’ve had to get him in there. Brett (Harris) didn’t have his good stuff, so we felt we needed to get Dean in there and sometimes it’s earlier in the game. He has been a wonderful kid for us. He’s a great student and a super kid and he left it all out there, so it was fun to watch."

 Senior pitcher Dean Ali

On this experience…"All year we’ve been battling, and I can’t hold my head down because of what we accomplished this year. I couldn’t be more proud of our team and what we’ve done and proved people wrong this year." 

On his pitching today…"I would just say being able to control my fastball, most importantly, and being able to have my slider and spot it when I could. I just hit my spots where they needed to be, and getting outs."

On his mindset…'"The longest I’ve gone this year is four innings, so I wasn’t really expecting to go in as long, but this was a game that we needed to win, and I just went out there and did what I could for the team."

 Freshman second baseman Nick Walker

On this experience …"I’m lucky I had a great group of seniors and leaders for this team to show me, myself, a lot of things. Being a freshman, I learned a lot from these guys, and we’re definitely going to miss them next year. Playing in the NCAA Tournament is quite an experience for me as a freshman." 

 On facing Campbell reliever Ryan Thompson…"I think that, as a right-hander, it was just a little funky, especially when he was in the stretch. He was a little quick to the plate, especially for being a lefty, and we couldn’t adjust in time, I think. He made good pitches and made us swing and miss a lot."

 CU 010 000 000 003=4-7-0
ODU 000 100 000 000=1-6-4
CU- Cedano, Thompson (8) and Leonard
ODU- Harris, Ali(4), Gero(10), Overton(11), Diaz(12) and Perez
WP: Thompson(7-2), LP Overton (3-3)

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