Courtesy of ODU Athletics

NORFOLK (WAVY) – After a pair of low-scoring outings in losses to Liberty and Marshall on Wednesday and Friday, Old Dominion baseball returned to form on Saturday as the offense erupted for a single-game school record eight home runs and evened the Sun Belt series versus Marshall with a 21-5 victory at Bud Metheny Ballpark.

Jake Ticer (3-for-4) became the first Monarch to hit three home runs in multiple games in a season. The transfer from Colby Community College opened the scoring with a two-run blast in the second inning, then added another two-run shot and a three-run bomb in the seventh. He finished the day with five runs, seven RBIs and two walks.

Camden Grimes (2-for-4) also had a multi-homer day with a leadoff home run in the third and a two-run bomb in the fourth. Also going yard were Josh Trujillo (1-for-1), Kenny Levari (2-for-5) and Robbie O’Neal (1-for-5). ODU had previously hit seven home runs in a game four times: twice in 2021 and twice in 2022.

“Had a Monarch wind behind us today,” said head coach Chris Finwood on the win. “Good to see the guys bounce back. Sam [Armstrong] and John [Holobetz] combined to give us solid pitching and Ticer got back on track with three home runs. Was good to get him back going and we had a bunch of good at bats today. Need to have that same focus for tomorrow’s game!”

Sam Armstong received the win to improve to 5-0 on the season. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, on four hits and three walks while striking out four in 5.1 innings. John Holobetz picked up his third save of the season in 3.2 innings of work. He gave up one run on three hits, didn’t walk anyone and struck out four.

The Monarchs (19-4, 4-1) scored two runs in the second, third and fourth innings and added another run in the fifth to build a 7-0 lead. In the third, Thomas Wheeler (2-for-3) singled in Hunter Fitz-Gerald (3-for-5) to make it a 4-0 lead. With two outs and runners on the corners in the fifth, Chris Dengler reached on a throwing error by the Marshall pitcher and that allowed Ticer to come in for the 7-0 advantage.

Marshall finally broke through with a four-run top of the sixth. Christian Lucio drew a leadoff walk before Luke Edwards and Kyle Schaefer hit back-to-back singles to get the Herd their first run of the game. Owen Ayers then doubled down the right-field line to trim the ODU lead to 7-3.

After a pair of walks helped the visitors load the bases with one out, Elijah Vogelsong sent a fly ball to left that Grimes dropped. Vogelsong reached on the error, but Grimes threw to Dengler for the force at second and Dengler fired the ball to Levari in time to tag the runner going to third to complete the double play. However, Ayers came home on the play as Marshall was back in it, 7-4.

That’s when the Monarchs responded with another five runs on three hits. Levari drove in a run with a double down the right-field line and Thomas Wheeler followed with an RBI base hit to center field. Marshall made a call to the pen, and O’Neal greeted the new hurler with a three-run shot down the left-field line.

ODU hit four more long balls to push across another nine runs in the seventh, and an Ayers solo home run in the eighth rounded out the scoring.

Today’s victory knotted the Sun Belt series at a game apiece and sets up a 1 p.m. rubber match on Sunday. ODU will start left-hander Dylan Brown (2-0, 2.84 ERA) while right-hander Zac Addkison (1-3, 5.40 ERA) will get the nod for Marshall.