The Old Dominion baseball team bashed five home runs on Tuesday and Hunter Fitz-Gerald went 5-for-6 with four RBIs as the Monarchs defeated VMI 15-8 at Bud Metheny Ballpark.
The five-hit game for Fitz-Gerald was the first five-hit game by a Monarch since Matt Coutney did it last season against MTSU. Fitz-Gerald added a double while scoring four and driving in four.
“I thought our guys came out ready to play. It was a good day to hit with the wind blowing out and we werer able to drive a number of balls hitting five home runs,” said ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood. “Obviously our 2-5 hitters really did some damage and our at bats were exceptional. I thought we pitched really well, gave up a couple home runs with the wind blowing out, but played good defense,” he added.
Jake Ticer got the scoring started by hitting a home run to center putting ODU up 1-0 in the first.
Robbie O’Neal hit a towering home run with one out in the second to give ODU a 2-0 lead. After a fly out, Josh Trujillo reached on a bunt single and Thomas Wheeler followed with a base hit to push Trujillo to third. Fitz-Gerald delivered a double down the rightfield line to score Trujillo and Wheeler and give ODU a 4-0 lead. Ticer followed with a walk before Alex Bouche blasted a double to score Fitz-Gerald and Ticer for a 6-0 Monarch lead.
VMI got on the board in the top of the third as Jimmy Koza led off the inning with a home run to cut the lead to 6-1. The Keydets cut the lead in half with a two-run single by Brett Cook to make the score 6-3.
The Monarchs added a run in the bottom of the inning. Luke Waters led off with a bunt single and advanced to third on a double by Chris Dengler. Waters scored on a ground out by Trujillo to give ODU a 7-3 lead.
VMI got a run back in the top of the sixth with a homer by Cook but ODU came right back again in the bottom half. Fitz-Gerald dumped a single to left and Ticer was hit by a pitch. Bouche hammered a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for his first career homer, to put the Monarchs back on top 10-4.
Zac Morris cut the ODU lead to 10-6 with a two-run homer that just snuck over the fence, but again the Monarchs answered with a three-spot in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Wheeler was hit by a pitch and Fitz-Gerald singled through the right side to move Wheeler to third. Ticer followed with a blast to right field for a 13-6 ODU lead through seven innings. That gives Ticer five home runs in the last two days.
VMI pushed two across in the top of the eighth with two outs as Ty Swaim drove in a pair with an infield single for a 13-8 deficit. The Monarchs closed the scoring in the bottom of the eighth as with two outs, Wheeler walked and stole second before Fitz-Gerald ended his five-hit night with a moon shot to right field.
“I think VMI has a really good team. Obviously, they just beat Mississippi State on the road this weekend and I was happy with how we were able to come away with the victory,” said Finwood.
Joey DeChiaro picked up the win throwing 1.2 innings with two strikeouts, while Tyler Kaltreider was saddled with the loss giving up six runs in 1.2 innings of work for VMI.
Ticer, coming off his three home run game on Sunday, blasted two more going 2-for-4 with four runs scored and driving in four. Bouche was 3-for-5 with five RBIs and Kenny Levari was 3-for-5 as the Monarchs had 19 hits in the contest.
ODU is right back in action on Wednesday in Williamsburg taking on William & Mary at 3 p.m. at Plumeri Park.