RUSTON, La. (March 21, 2014) – Louisiana Tech committed three errors and Old Dominion scored four runs in the first two innings to help lead the Monarchs to an 8-6 win over the Bulldogs Friday night at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Old Dominion (13-9, 3-4 C-USA) jumped on top early by plating two runs in the top of the first off three base hits and a LA Tech (7-13, 2-5 C-USA) error, as the Monarchs tacked on runs continuously throughout the ballgame to eventually defeat the Bulldogs.
The Monarchs’ starter Tommy Alexander went just 2.2 innings, giving up two runs on five hits before Dean Ali (3-2) came on in relief to earn the victory for Old Dominion. Ali allowed one run on two Bulldog hits in 4.1 innings of work. He struck out six on the night. ODU then used a trio of pitchers to close out the game with Sam Sinnen, Brad Gero and Conner Overton taking the mound for the final two innings of the game.
Phil Maton (2-3) was charged with the loss for Tech after enduring a rough start in which he gave up seven runs off eight hits in five complete innings on the mound. Maton struck out three and walked four in the outing. Mark Baughman came on in the sixth and allowed one unearned run on three ODU hits before Austin Greer held the Monarchs scoreless in the eighth and ninth.
In the first, Old Dominion’s Nick Walker and Josh Eldridge led off with back-to-back singles before P.J. Higgins reached base on an error by Bulldog second baseman Thomas Simoneaux. Ben Slaton then singled to score Walker and give ODU a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Taylor Ostrich reached base on a fielder’s choice, which also allowed an addition run for the Monarchs, who took a 2-0 advantage.
A walk and hit by pitch in the second gave Old Dominion a chance to tack on to the run total, and the Monarchs did just that, plating two runs in the inning off two base hits.
The Bulldogs began to chip away at the score in the bottom half of the second when Taylor Love led off with a single up the middle. Then, with one out and a runner on first, Tyler Qualls doubled to left field to give Tech runners on the corners with Taylor Nichols coming to the plate. Nichols proceeded to hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field to score Love from third and cut Old Dominion’s lead to three runs.
In the third, LA Tech cut the Monarchs’ lead to two when Ryan Jones reached base on a walk to begin the inning, followed by a single by Bre’shon Kimbell to give Tech two on and no outs. Colby Johnson then reached base safely on a bunt single to load the bases for the Bulldogs with no outs. After Tyler Ervine struck out, Jones scored on the next at bat when Love grounded out to the second baseman to plate a run.
Old Dominion scored one in the fourth on an RBI single by Mike Perez, but continued to cause damage in the fifth by scoring two runs thanks to a two-run home run to right field by Josiah Burney after Jodan Negrini led off the inning with a walk.
Johnson answered back in the bottom half of the fifth with a solo shot of his own, a no-doubt homer down the right field line to make it 7-3 in favor of Old Dominion.
The Monarchs would score one more run on the night in the seventh, but it was a late-rally by the Bulldogs that caused the most noise late in the game. In the eighth, Johnson led off with a walk, followed by a single by Ervine. Gandy then doubled to left field to score Johnson. Qualls then grounded out to second to score Ervine and cut Old Dominion lead to 8-5.
Tech once again attempted a ninth-inning comeback when Kimbell doubled with two outs to keep the Bulldogs alive. Johnson then followed up with a double of his own to plate Kimbell and bring Ervine to the plate as the potential game-tying run, but a ground ball to the ODU shortstop gave the Monarchs a win in the first game of the series.
Kimbell and Johnson were a combined 6-for-9 in the top two spots in the Bulldogs’ lineup with two RBI, a walk and three runs scored. Johnson led with a 3-for-4 effort with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs, while Kimbell also totaled three base hits, including a double in the ninth.
Ervine, Gandy and Qualls each had doubles in the contest as well, while Love singled in the first inning to extend his reached base streak to 18 games. Jones was 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk, while Nichols had a sacrifice fly early in the game for an RBI.
Old Dominion was led by designated hitter Ben Slaton, who was 4-for-6 with a double, two RBI and a run. Josh Eldridge also had two hits and scored three runs, while Jordan Negrini was 2-for-3 with a walk and run. Josiah Burney was 1-for-2 for the Monarchs with a home run and two RBI.
Louisiana Tech had 11 hits on the night compared to 12 by Old Dominion. The Monarchs took advantage of seven walks and two hit batters by Bulldog pitchers.
The final two games the series are scheduled as a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston. The Bulldogs are set to start right-handers Adam Derouen and Richie Navari on the mound.
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