NORFOLK, Va. (Release via ODU Athletics) – The Old Dominion baseball team logged 16 hits and received six shutout innings from starter Blake Morgan in a 14-0 win over Florida Atlantic in the opener of a key three-game conference series.

Morgan (4-0) continued his dazzling run since moving into the Friday starting role. The freshman left-hander allowed just four hits while striking out three and issuing one walk. Morgan is 3-0 and has allowed just nine hits and two walks while striking out 15 over 17 innings as a weekend starter.

Relievers Pete Nielsen and Connor Muly combined for three innings of one-hit ball to finish out the game. All told, ODU’s pitchers surrendered just five hits and walked two to shut out one of the best offenses in Conference USA.

The Monarchs (27-9, 9-7 C-USA) reinforced their status as the top offense in the conference, and one of the best in the nation, with 14 runs on 16 hits. ODU notched five doubles and two home runs against the Owls (24-15, 10-6).

ODU hung three runs on the board in the first, all with two outs. Matt Coutney got the wheels moving with a walk before Andy Garriola doubled to put runners on second and third. Brock Gagliardi laced a double to left center to score two before coming home on a Tommy Bell single.

The Monarchs were soon up 5-0 after a Coutney groundout and a Garriola single in the second.

Morgan allowed two of his four hits in the top of the fifth, placing runners on first and third with two outs, but he preserved his shutout with a ground ball to Kyle Edwards.

Thomas Wheeler launched a two-out, two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth to push Old Dominion’s lead to 7-0. Morgan threw a perfect inning in the sixth before the bats struck for four more runs.

James Tarkenton II and Carter Trice drew consecutive walks to put two runners on with no outs for Coutney, who singled through the hole at short to score Tarkenton II. Garriola followed with a three-run no-doubt shot to left – his 16th of the season.

Coutney stayed hot on Friday, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two batted in. Garriola found his footing once again with three hits and four RBIs.

Nielsen came on for Morgan in the top of the seventh and did not skip a beat, setting down the side in order. Edwards notched his first collegiate double in the bottom half of the frame before another perfect inning by Nielsen in the eighth.

The Monarchs added three more in the bottom of the eighth with run-scoring singles by Gagliardi, Bell and Wheeler. Muly then worked around a walk and a two-out single to finish off the Owls.

Gagliardi and Wheeler both had two hits and three RBIs on Friday.

Hunter Cooley (5-3) took the loss for FAU, allowing seven runs on nine hits – both season highs – over five innings.

The two sides contest game two of the series on Saturday at 3 p.m.