By Harry Minium
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – With a pitching employees patched along with spit and gum, and exhausted from enjoying 5 video games in 4 days, the Previous Dominion baseball group was enjoying on fumes, and but took Louisiana Tech all the way down to the sport’s closing play.
The Monarchs staged an Ninth-inning rally, taking a 7-6 lead on a Brock Gagliardi two-run residence run, his second of the sport, and have been two outs away from beating the Bulldogs and claiming a berth within the Convention USA championship recreation.
However pinch-hitter Walker Burchfield shot a dagger into ODU’s hearts, drilling a two-run single to left discipline that scored two runs and gave LA Tech an 8-7 victory Saturday evening at Pete Taylor Park.
The sport was a rematch of final yr’s C-USA championship recreation, which ODU received 7-5 in 10 innings, in Ruston, Louisiana.
LA Tech (41-19) advances to Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship recreation, wherein the Bulldogs will tackle UTSA for the C-USA title.
ODU (41-17), in the meantime, awaits what coach Chris Finwood says certainly can be an at-large bid to the NCAA Event.
“We have baseball left to play,” he stated. “Our season’s not over.
“These guys should hold enjoying and they’ll.”
Nationwide prognosticators had ODU on the bubble getting into Saturday. The Monarchs opened the day by beating LA Tech, 9-6, in 13 innings in a traditional recreation wherein Andy Garriola drove within the game-winning run and aid pitcher Jason Hartline threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Saturday evening’s recreation was additionally a back-and-forth affair wherein each groups walked an emotional tightrope. The Monarchs celebrated wildly after Gagliardi’s second residence run, the primary two homer recreation of his profession, then appeared in surprised silence as LA Tech gamers celebrating by leaping right into a pile on first base.
D1Baseball had the Monarchs because the final group out of the NCAA Event on Saturday morning, however had Alabama within the match, and the Crimson Tide was eradicated from the SEC Event by Florida, a recreation D1Baseball writers known as “essential” to Alabama’s hopes of gaining an at-large bid.
However Gonzaga and Dallas Baptist, which ranked among the many prime 30 within the RPI, each misplaced of their convention tournaments, which means groups that weren’t anticipated to go to the NCAA Event will acquire computerized bids.
In accordance with warrennolan.com, ODU moved up three locations on Saturday within the NCAA RPI to 42nd. Finwood stated successful 41 video games within the nation’s fifth hardest convention warrants a bid.
ODU additionally has a ton of momentum — the Monarchs received 10 of their final 12 video games, with each losses coming to LA Tech, which is No. 37 within the RPI.
ODU swept two video games from East Carolina, which performs for the American Athletic Convention title Sunday and will host an NCAA Regional, in addition to a victory at Virginia and two wins at Southern Miss.
The Monarchs bus again to Norfolk on Sunday and hope to have the ability to collect to look at the NCAA Event present at midday Monday on ESPN2.
“l’ll be on the cellphone with individuals as will our administration,” Finwood stated.
Saturday’s recreation was ODU’s closing occasion ever in Convention USA. The Monarchs be part of the Solar Belt Convention, together with Southern Miss, Marshall and James Madison, on July 1.
Finwood stated Athletic Director Dr. Wooden Selig may also work the telephones.
“We wish to ensure all of the committee members know what we have finished this yr,” he stated. “I do know individuals on the committee and they should understand how a lot we should be in.
“On the finish of the day, it is individuals in there they usually’re voting. Your metrics are your metrics and ours are awfully good. However you continue to should watch out.”
LA Tech took a fast 2-0 lead within the first inning. Leadoff hitter Taylor Younger started the sport with a bunt single, adopted two batters later by a stroll to Steele Netterville. Cole McConnell then singled to proper to attain Taylor, after which Jorge Corona hit a sacrifice fly to proper discipline that scored Netterville.
ODU’s bats then got here alive within the fourth when the highest of the lineup pounded out 4 hits for 4 runs.
Thomas Wheeler hit a triple down the precise discipline line after which wheeled residence on a throwing error. Matt Coutney then doubled and was pushed residence by a double from Garriola.
Gagliardi then drove a line drive residence run to the other discipline off a billboard in left discipline to make it 4-2.
LA Tech tied it proper again up within the backside of the inning on a two-run double from Younger.
LA Tech retook the lead within the sixth, when Myers hit a sacrifice fly to proper discipline to attain Nettervile. However with runners on second and third, reliever Joey DeChiaro pressured McLeod to fly out, stranding each runners.
Coutney then tied it up with a solo residence run within the sixth, bouncing the ball off the identical billboard that Gagliardi hit earlier within the recreation.
ODU used 9 pitchers in Saturday morning’s victory over LA Tech. The Monarchs used seven towards the Bulldogs, together with Connor Muly, who made his first profession begin.
Tommy Gertner threw three sturdy innings in his second pitching effort of the day. DeChiaro additionally threw for the second time and was distinctive in 2 1/3 innings.
But issues went badly for ODU within the backside of the ninth, when Monarch pitchers loaded the bases with two walks after which hit a batter.
Vincent Bashara then struck out Adarius Myers swinging, however then Burchfield hit the shot to left discipline that broke the Monarchs’ hearts. Garriola fielded the ball cleanly and made a valiant effort to throw out Netterville, who scored the successful run simply forward of the throw.
The ache was nonetheless obvious within the faces of the Monarchs lengthy after the sport ended.
“It hurts due to an excellent factor,” Finwood stated. “It hurts as a result of they care about one another, due to how onerous they struggle for one another.
“Groups who lose on the finish of the yr and it would not harm, they do not get it. And these guys acquired it.
“I’ve by no means been prouder of a group than I have been right this moment. I want we had a pair extra bullets to fireside on the mound. However it’s what it’s. I believed the fellows who pitched right this moment pitched their butts off. We simply did not have sufficient of them.”