NORFOLK, Va. (Release via ODU Athletics) – Freshman Blake Morgan and senior Jason Hartline combined on a five-hit shutout on Friday night as the Old Dominion baseball team opened a key three-game Conference USA series with a 5-0 win over Louisiana Tech at Bud Metheny Ballpark.
Old Dominion (29-10, 11-8) got on the board in the bottom of the first after a groundout, Carter Trice took the third pitch of the game over the left field wall for his 16th home run of the year and an early 1-0 advantage.
Morgan allowed his first baserunner in the third inning as Logan McLeod started with a single for La. Tech (28-15, 12-7). Following a strikeout to Ben Brantley, McLeod stole second and was stranded as Thaxton Berch struck out and Taylor Young grounded out to end the threat.
The Monarchs doubled the lead in the top of the fourth as Trice singled and went to second after a Matt Coutney single to right field. Trice stole third and after a pop out, Brock Gagliardi laced a single up the middle to score Trice for a 2-0 lead.
ODU doubled the lead again to 4-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth as they dialed up another long ball. Trice walked and was forced out on a Coutney groundout. Andy Garriola took a 1-1 pitch over left centerfield for his 19th bomb of the season for the 4-0 advantage.
Morgan threw seven innings of three-hit ball and struck out eight. In the seventh, Steele Netterville singled and advanced on a one-out wild pitch, but Morgan squeezed a pop out to Gagliardi behind the plate and a fly out to left to end the inning and his night.
Hartline came in the top of the eighth and went right into the fire with a single and a walk to the first two batters. The senior from Chesapeake answered the challenge with three straight strikeouts to keep the Bulldogs off the board.
ODU tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the inning with after one out, Garriola and Gagliardi singled before a walk to Thomas Wheeler loaded the bases. Kenny Levari forced in a run drawing a walk to take the Monarch advantage to 5-0.
In the ninth, the Bulldogs got runners to second and third with two outs, but a groundout to Tommy Bell at short ended the night. Hartline allowed two hits in his two innings with three strikeouts.
Trice was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Garriola and Gagliardi were 2-for-4 apiece. Garriola also scored two and drove in two runs.
The same two teams will tangle in game two of the series at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.