Monarchs Open Season Friday With Three-Game Series Against UMES

February 06, 2007
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Feb. 6, 2007

NORFOLK, VA-- The ODU Baseball Monarchs open the 2007 season Friday in a three-game series against the Hawks of the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. Game time is 3 p.m. at the Bud Metheny Complex.

The Monarchs return 13 lettermen from last year's squad that won 39 games and climbed into the nation's top 15 for the first time since the mid 1980's. Heading the list of returnees are 2006 All-CAA outfielders Jimmy Miles, and Mike Zahm, along with CAA rookie team selection and Freshman All-American pitcher Dan Hudson.

The Monarchs lost five key regulars from a year ago which include all-purpose player Dana Arrowood, catcher Patrick Nichols, pitcher Jason Godin, thirdbaseman Justin Gregula and pitcher Kevin Gunter. Arrowood led the Monarchs with seven saves and a 3.17 ERA. He also led the team in hitting with a .353 average and 52 runs batted in. Nichols led the team in homers with 28, while Godin set the school single game strike out mark with 18 against Northeastern and compiled a 8-3 record. Godin and Kevin Gunter both tossed two shutouts each. ODU's pitching staff set a new school strikeout mark for a single season with 511 in 512-plus innings.

Miles is the Monarchs leading returnee with a .348 batting average along with four homers and 32 RBI. The outfielder ranked second in the CAA with 39 stolen bases. His outfield mate, Mike Zahm, hit .328 last year with six homers and 43 runs batted. Also returning is solid veteran secondbaseman Chris Keenan and RBI machine, firstbaseman Bryan Cipolla. Cipolla has knocked in 113 runs in the last two years. Keenan stole 17 bases last year and was in on 34 of ODU's 48 defensive double plays.

The Monarchs will be expecting major contributions from returnees catcher/designated hitter Tyler Belcher, firstbaseman John Malbon, infielder Cameron Scott and outfielders Anthony Shawler and Brooks Sinnen.

On the pitching front, Dan Hudson compiled a 7-3 record with a 3.28 earned run average. He was named to the CAA's All-Rookie squad and COLLEGIATE BASEBALL's Freshman All-American squad. Senior Hunter Hall was 5-0 with a 3.60 ERA, while Anthony Shawler was 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA and Ross Fetterly and David Wagner are also expected to be major contributors this season. Last season, ODU's Pitching staff fanned a school record 511 batters in 512.2 innings.

Head coach Jerry Meyers, the 2006 CAA Coach of the Year and his coaching staff brought in an outstanding group of newcomers which will give the Monarchs added depth. Heading the list are shortstop Chris Buss, catchers Joe Velleggia and David Burns, pitchers Dexter Carter, Ryan Bergh, Cory Toth, Brady Burchill and Robbie Watkins along with infielders Jake McAloose, Gerard Hall, and outfielder Nick Erdman.

Burchill was the 2005 Region XI Pitcher of the Year at Iowa Western Community college where he teamed with ODU outfielder Mike Zahm in their run to third place at the Junior College World Series. Dexter Carter was a standout pitcher at nearby Greenbrier Christian Academy as well as Louisburg College, while Gerard Hall earned All Metro honors at Gonzaga High School in the Washington, DC area.

Thirdbaseman Jake McAloose earned All-District and All-Region honors at nearby Princess Anne High School while Velleggia led the Baltimore area in homers the last two seasons and Robbie Watkins compiled a 30-2 career record at Menchville.

Shortstop Chris Buss comes to ODU from East Carolina. Buss was the Minnesota BCA/Louisville Slugger High School Player of theYear in Minnesota. Ryan Bergh was a standout pitcher for Pensacola Junior College and David Burns earned All-Conference honors as a catcher at Lake Sumter Community College. Erdman was a two-time ABCA All-Region outfielder at Shippensburg.

This year's ODU schedule will again feature 33 home games with some of the nation's premier powers visiting the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex. Coming in for three-game series are Rutgers, Maryland Eastern Shore, and Iona along with single games against Maryland, Norfolk State, Delaware State, Marist, Richmond, Liberty, and Radford.

On the road, ODU will play in a tournament in Myrtle Beach, SC which will include games against Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and host squad Coastal Carolina. The Monarchs will also play single games at East Carolina, Richmond, and Longwood.

On April 3, the Monarchs will play their annual scholarship exhibition with the Norfolk Tides, the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, in the annual ODU Baseball Scholarship game at Harbor Park in downtown Norfolk.

Everyone in the CAA will play each other in three-game weekend series'. ODU will host Hofstra, UNC Wilmington, Towson, Delaware and Georgia State at the Bud, while traveling to James Madison, Northeastern, VCU, George Mason and William and Mary. The league championships will be May 23-26 at Brooks Field in Wilmington, NC.