March 9, 2013
NORFOLK, Va. – Junior Ben Verlander tied the school record with three home runs on Saturday afternoon as he helped propel the Old Dominion University baseball team past Northeastern at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex, 10-8.
Verlander went 4-for-4 on the day with three home runs, including a grand slam, and tallied seven RBI. He tied the school for most homers in a single game in ODU history. Nick Boothe homered three times against Charlotte on April 6, 1985 while Jeff Eure did it against NC State on April 14, 1998 and Matt Quatraro hit three at CW Post on April 6, 1994 . Verlander’s seven RBI was one short of the school record of eight.
A pitching duel starting Saturday’s game as ODU’s Andy Roberts and Northeastern’s Nick Berger cruised through the first three innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Josh Eldridge and Ben Slaton singled and Jordan Negrini was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Verlander then cranked Berger’s pitch to deep left center and over the fence to put the Monarchs on top, 4-0.
A solo homer just inside the left field foul pole by NU’s Rob Fonseca got the Huskies on the board in the fifth but Old Dominion (8-4, 2-0) got the run right back in the bottom of the frame when Slaton singled home Pat Kane.
Northeastern (7-6, 0-2) got a run in the sixth on a single to center by Brad Burcroff but a three-run bottom of the sixth, led off by Verlander’s solo homer to left would give the Monarchs a six-run cushion as Austin McGowan’s two-run single scored Connor Myers and Michael Perez.
The Huskies took advantage of two ODU errors in the top of the seventh to plate a pair and cut the lead in half but Verlander struck again in the bottom of the seventh, this time off NU reliever Issac Lippert, for a two-run shot to left center.
In the eight, Northeastern was able to score four runs off the ODU bullpen and Erick Baker. Senior closer Brandon Smith recorded a six-out save for his third of the season to close the door and secure the series win for the Monarchs.
Roberts earned his first win in a Monarch uniform hurling 5.2 innings and giving up five hits, two runs and a walk. Berger took the loss for the Huskies after giving up eight hits, seven runs and three walks in 5.0 innings. Smith gave up one hit and struck out one in 2.0 innings of work to earn the save.
For Northeastern, Connor Lyons went 3-for-5 with a run while Fonseca went 2-for-4 with three RBI, a homer, and scored three runs. Myers and Slaton each had two hits for ODU.
Old Dominion goes for the sweep of the Huskies on Sunday at the Bud at 1 p.m.
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