NORFOLK, Va. – (ODU SPORTS) The No. 22 Old Dominion baseball team won its series opener, 11-4 against Rice on Friday afternoon at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex. The Monarchs compiled four home runs, while Tommy Gertner and Jason Hartline combined for 10 strikeouts to secure the victory.
“Tommy gave us a really good start, we hung a couple breaking balls in the sixth inning, but they did a good job of getting back in it.” explained ODU head coach Chris Finwood.
ODU (25-6, 11-2 C-USA) got on the board first after two scoreless innings. Tommy Bell led off the third inning with a triple. Sophomore Thomas Wheeler delivered a sacrifice fly to bring home Bell and scored the game’s first run. Kyle Battle walked and Carter Trice smacked a two-out home run to drive in his 10th homer of the year and make it a 3-0 game.
Junior Brock Gagliardi hit a two-out solo home run in the fourth to give the Monarchs a four-run advantage over Rice.
In the sixth inning, Rice (14-19-1, 2-10 C-USA) brought four runs across to knot up the game, 4-4.
ODU starting pitcher Tommy Gertner did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. He struck out six batters in his longest outing (5.0 IP) of the 2021 season.
The Monarchs quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning as freshman Robbie Petracci hit an RBI double to bring home Andy Garriola. Gagliardi scored Matt Coutney with a single to give ODU a 6-4 lead through six.
ODU went on to score five additional unanswered runs, highlighted by homers from Kenny Levari and Petracci. Battle’s double in the eighth inning marked his 200th career hit.
“The thing that this team has done all year, is when it’s been close in the middle of a game, they’ve kept fighting, fighting and fighting,” said Finwood. “We scored seven unanswered runs and it looked like it wasn’t close, but it was close. When we’ve been good in the back half offensively, and Hartline is doing what he’s done all year, and let us keep the momentum, that’s been a good recipe on Friday for us.”
Hartline pitched a season-high 3.1 innings of relief, fanning four Owls as he picked up his fourth win of the 2021 season.
For the day, Gagliardi went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Petracci knocked in three RBIs going 2-for-4.
ODU and Rice will play a twinbill on Saturday with the first pitch at 2 p.m.