Monarch Baseball Opens With Radford On Friday

February 09, 2005
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Feb. 9, 2005

NORFOLK, VA-- The Baseball Monarchs and first year head coach Jerry Meyers open the 2005 season with a three-game series against Radford beginning Friday at 3 p.m. at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.

Senior righthander James Burok is scheduled to start opening day with junior lefthander Bryan Hansen to pitch on Saturday.


The Old Dominion University baseball program begins a new era under new head coach Jerry Meyers. The 2005 edition will feature 12 returning lettermen, including seven position starters, led by second team All-CAA outfielder Stephen Harris. The Monarchs also return six pitchers, but lost two of the nation's top hurlers to the amateur draft.

"We are optimistic about the season," said Meyers. "We have added some depth and I think we have the personnel to have a more balanced attack, and not just relay on one thing. Out team has worked extremely hard in preparation for this coming season."

The Monarchs lost two starting pitchers to the draft last year, in righthanders Justin Verlander and Donnie Smith. Verlander re-wrote the CAA, ODU and the state of Virginia record books in strikeouts. He was selected second overall in the first round by the Detroit Tigers. The All-CAA and All-Region pitcher fanned 151 batters in just 105.2 innings last season and com pleted his three-year career with 427 strikeouts in 335.2 innings. Donnie Smith was the CAA ERA champion. He was selected in the fourth round by St. Louis, after compiling a 6-2 record as a starter, but also saving six games with a 2.29 ERA along with 99 strikeouts in 86 innings. Verlander averaged 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings and Donnie Smith averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

This year's Monarch pitching staff returns junior righthander Dana Arrowood (Woodbridge, Va.); senior righthander James Burok (Archbald, PA.), junior righthander Jason Godin (Stafford, Va.), sophomore righthander Hunter Hall (Va.Beach, Va.), Andrew Bucher, and sophomore lefthander Joseph Johannes (Va. Beach, Va.). Sophomore lefthander Needham Jones (Portsmouth, VA.) returns after a two-year Mormon Mission. Arrowood has the most returning victories with five along with two saves while Godin will be questionable after undergoing back surgery in December.

In the outfield, junior Stephen Harris (Virginia Beach, a.) hit .352 with five homeruns and 38 runs batted in which earned him a second team All-CAA nod. Joining Harris in the outfield will be junior Keith Hahn (Valley Stream, NY.) who hit .312 with 27 runs scored and senior Evan Chipman (Raleigh, NC.), who led ODU in stolen bases as a sophomore.

In the infield, the Monarchs lost stolen base and run scoring leader in shortstop Brandon Carter to the draft to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also gone by way of graduation is co-homerun leader, third baseman Allen Strick. Returning to the line-up is sophomore firstbaseman Brian Cipolla (Plainview, NY.), along with junior Justin Gregula (Washington, PA.), who will probably move to third, but has also played second base. Sophomore Tyler Belcher (Bristol, VA.) who hit .305 last season returns at the catchers position. ODU will also be counting on junior Eric Mesa (Miami, FL.), and senior Jesse Schoendienst (Belcamp, MD.) to round out the infield.

The Monarchs will have 11 newcomers for the upcoming season. They include: righthand pitcher Kyle Dubois (Virginia Beach , VA.) from Manatee Junior college; righthand freshman pitcher Irvin Sleighter (Chambersburg, PA.); infielder Chris Keenan (Chesapeake, Va.); catcher Patrick Nichols (Chesapeake, VA.) a transfer from Coastal Carolina; catcher Matt Hudgins(Virginia Beach, Va.) who transferred from VMI; senior outfielder Ronnie Stahl (Locust Grove, GA.), Matthew Walls (Falls Church, Va.).; junior lefthander Bryan Hansen (Voss, NC); junior righthander Kevin Gunter (Richland, NJ.), sophomore lefthander David Wagner, who transferred from the University of Pittsburgh (Johnstown, PA.), and junior pitcher/utility C.J. Jacinto (Virginia Beach, VA).

This year's Monarch schedule will feature 35 home games with some of the nation's premier powers visiting the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex. Coming in for three-game series' will be Rutgers, Princeton, Radford, and Maryland-Baltimore County. Two-game home series will include Clemson, and Fordham and single game visitors will include Virginia, George Washington, Norfolk State, Richmond, Liberty, VMI, and Longwood. ODU will play in The Citadel Classic Feb. 18-20 against Coppin Sate, Richmond and host Citadel.

On April 5, the Monarchs will play their annual scholarship game with the Norfolk Tides, AAA Affiliate of the New York Mets in the Bank of the Commonwealth Classic at Harbor Park.

Once again, everyone in the CAA will play each other. The Monarchs will host three- game league series against George Mason, James Madison, Delaware, and UNC Wilmington. ODU will travel to William and Mary, Towson, VCU and Hofstra. The VCU series will be played in Petersburg, VA.

This year's CAA baseball championships will be held at Brooks Field in Wilmington, NC, May 25-28.