HARRISONBURG, Va., Apr. 7, 2013 – Old Dominion posted 19 hits, including nine for extra bases, to defeat James Madison 14-2 and complete a Colonial Athletic Association series sweep on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
ODU improved to 16-14 overall and 7-8 in the CAA. JMU lost its seventh game in a row to fall to 14-16 and fell for the sixth straight time in league play to drop to 6-8.
The 19 hits by the Monarchs were a season high while also matching the JMU opponent season high. ODU collected two doubles, four triples and three home runs in the game.
Not to be overshadowed by the hitting, three ODU pitchers combined to limit the Dukes to two runs on seven hits while retiring the final 13 batters in order. Tommy Alexander entered in relief in the fourth and worked 4 1/3 innings while only allowing two hits. He retired 10 straight before giving way to Brandon Smith in the ninth to retire the final three.
Sophomore Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) took the loss for James Madison after allowing six runs on five hits in two innings of work. Four different relievers allowed two runs apiece.
Designated hitter Ben Verlander was 3-for-5 with a triple and four RBIs for ODU. Second baseman Austin McGowan homered twice and went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Brian Bashara entered as an injury replacement and went 2-for-3 with a home run, a triple and three RBIs. Center fielder Connor Myers was 3-for-4 while three other Monarchs had multiple hits, including left fielder Josh Eldridge with two triples.
Four players accounted for the seven hits for the Dukes with junior Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) going 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. He made his first start of the year on the field at second base after being limited to designated hitter duties due to an injury from the 2012 season. Junior catcher Nick Merullo (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) went 2-for-4.
JMU scored the first run for the first time in the series. With runners on the corners and two out in the first, Brown singled through the left side off the glove of the third baseman for the RBI.
ODU tied the game on one swing in the second with a one-out home run to right by McGowan. The Monarchs kept the inning going with a hit by pitch and two walks to load the bases with two outs. Verlander then unloaded them with a three-run triple to the corner in left. Eldgridge made it back-to-back triples with a shot to the right corner and a 5-1 lead.
The visitors added a sixth run in the third as a double and single to lead off put runners on the corners and chased Toohers. Freshman Mark Gunst (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI) relieved and quickly induced a double play with one run scoring. However, ODU kept the inning going with a Tyler Urps single, a stolen base and an RBI single by Brian Beard to make it 7-1.
ODU tacked on run number eight in the fourth as Eldridge tripled for the second time in as many at bats and scored on a double by Jordan Negrini.
JMU finally ended the string of eight unanswered runs in the bottom of the fourth. Brown doubled to left center to lead off the frame. After advancing to third on a groundout, he scored on an RBI grounder by senior right fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) to make it 8-2.
Urps singled for ODU with one out in the fifth. Beard hit into a potential double play ball but the relay throw bounced to first with Beard just beating it out. That proved key as Myers singled through the left side and Verlander followed with an RBI single to left to make it 9-2.
The Monarchs got a solo shot from Bashara in the sixth and a two-run shot from McGowan in the eighth for a 12-2 score.
JMU will be at Liberty on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in non-conference action.