Feb. 25, 2012
NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion’s comeback bid on Saturday afternoon fell short as they lost the second game of the series to Rutgers at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex, 11-8.
ODU (2-4), who was down 9-0 at one point on Saturday, had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning but could not capitalize as Rutgers (2-3) held on to clinch the series with the victory.
The Monarchs scored in each of the final four frames and began their comeback in the bottom of the sixth when ODU took advantage of one of two Rutgers’ errors in the innings as Drew Coker was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a throwing error before eventually scoring on a double play.
In the seventh, Rutgers got a run back when Charlie Law doubled and scored on a base hit by Pat Sweeney. ODU would respond in the bottom of the inning when Chris Baker launched a two-run homer to right field off RU starter Rob Smorol.
Bill Hoerman singled home Steve Zavala in the top of the eighth to get a run back for Rutgers off ODU reliever Kevin Griffey. Josh Wright’s triple in the bottom of the frame and a solo homer this time by Baker would inch the Monarchs closer.
ODU freshman reliever Dylan Bratton pitched a scoreless ninth as the Monarchs attempted a rally against Rutgers’ Jerry Elsing in their final at-bat. Brent Frazier reached on one of three errors on the day by RU’s Sweeney at shortstop that was followed by a base hit by pinch hitter Austin McGowan to put runners on the corners. An RBI single by Shawn Sizemore would score Frazier and a bloop single to center by Brandon Shelton would load the bases for ODU with no outs.
After a big strikeout of Wright by Elsing, another blunder at shortstop allowed McGowan to score. A sac fly by Joey Burney would then plate Sizemore for the third run of the inning and the second out. Baker then reached the plate and popped up to third where the ball was dropped but Shelton was caught in a run down between third and home and tagged out to end the inning and the Monarchs’ comeback.
Smorol (1-1) earned the win for Rutgers, hurling 7.0 innings and allowing three runs (two earned) with a walk and three strikeouts. ODU starter Ben Tomchick (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings of work with no walks and three strikeouts.
Rutgers got on the board first in the top of the second when Ross Costello tripled and eventually scored. The Scarlet Knights plated five in the top of the fifth and chased Tomchick from the game, doing all of their damage with two outs as RU strung together five consecutive hits, highlighted by a two-run homer by Steve Zavala on the first pitch he saw from ODU reliever Donald Engler.
RU would get three more runs in the top of the sixth off Engler. Melillo and Zavala each had three RBI for Rutgers while ever Scarlet Knight in the line-up had at least one base hit. Shelton went 2-for-5 while Baker went 2-for-5 with two runs, three RBI and a pair of homers to lead ODU.
Game three between the Monarchs and Scarlet Knights is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.