NORFOLK, Va. (Release via ODU Athletics) – The clouds all but disappeared and the temperatures finally warmed up Friday night, and finally, so did Old Dominion’s bats.

The Monarchs pounded out 11 hits, including three homes runs, and rolled past Marshall, 13-8, in the first of ODU’s final three home baseball games of the season.

ODU and Marshall are set to play again at 3 p.m. Saturday, but because the weather forecast is calling for rain until the early evening, coach Chris
Finwood said it’s most likely the game will start later in the day. The Monarchs and Herd play again Sunday at 1 p.m. for ODU’s Senior Day.

ODU (32-15, 14-11 Conference USA) broke a three-game losing streak, including disappointing home losses to VCU (8-2) and William & Mary (5-0) earlier this week that were both played in a cold drizzle.

“Maybe it was the cold, but maybe it was a couple of bad days, which happens in baseball,” Finwood said.

“But the guys got together and got things worked out. I thought we played much better tonight. Eleven hits and eight extra base hits, we drove the ball well, which is what we’ve been doing most of the season.”

ODU is the defending Conference USA champion and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Regional in Columbia, South Carolina last season, but after this week’s losses, entered Friday’s game ranked 56th in the NCAA RPI. The Monarchs will have to advance far higher than that to warrant an at-large bid.

ODU has six games left and Finwood said the Monarchs may need to win all six and then win at least a couple of games in the Conference USA Tournament to go back to postseason play.

“But you never know,” he said. “We’ve just got to play well and see what happens.”

Freshman pitcher Blake Morgan ran his record to 7-0 even though it was far from his best game. He gave up five runs in six innings.

“Blake didn’t have his best stuff, but he really battled and gave us six good innings,” Finwood said.

Jason Hartline came in to relieve Morgan and gave up three runs in 2 2/3 innings, but by then, Marshall was simply too far behind to catch up.

Marshall scored two quick runs in the first on a Jordan Billups two-run single. ODU’s Andy Garriola drilled his 20th home run of the season in the bottom of the first to make it 2-2.

Marshall catcher Ryan Leitch made it 3-2 in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly, but Thomas Wheeler tripled and then was driven in on a sacrifice fly from Josh Trujillo.

Marshall retook the lead, 5-3, in the top of the fourth on a two-run home run from Geordon Blanton. The Monarchs then exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead for good.

Catcher Brock Gagliardi hit a solo home run to make it 5-4. Robbie Petracci doubled as did Kenny Levari and shortstop Tommy Bell drilled a single to left that scored Petracci.

Bell was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Wheeler then flied out to score Levari and Truijillo singled to score Bell. Garriola then doubled to left to score Trujillo.

Garriola flied out to left to score Wheeler in the sixth, his fourth RBI of the game.

The Monarchs then got three more in the seventh, two from a Levari home run and another when Matt Coutney flied out to drive Bell in from third. ODU scored its final run in the eighth when Bell drove in Levari with a double.

Vincent Bashara closed out the game for the Monarchs, forcing Leitch to ground out to Bell.

Check back to odusports.com for updates on Saturday’s game time.