NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion's Connor Myers made an incredible diving catch to rob Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) of a game-tying double in the top of the ninth as the Monarchs held on for a 9-8 victory Tuesday afternoon at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.
Tuesday's game featured three lead changes, three ties, 17 runs and 26 hits and 13 extra-base hits. The Bulldogs (2-8) and the Monarchs (6-5) were meeting for the first time in program history.
Trailing 9-8 entering the ninth, Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) led off with a scorching-single up the middle. He later stole second and moved to third on a ground out to short. With two outs, Rinn sent a deep fly ball to center field but Myers raced back and dove towards the center field wall to make a spectacular game-saving catch. He made the same play an inning earlier in taking away extra-bases from Joseph Paparelli (Preston, Conn.).
In a back-and-forth affair, ODU got on the board first Tuesday afternoon thanks to a leadoff home run from Josh Eldridge in the second inning. He jumped on a 1-0 pitch and sent it towering over the right field wall.
Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) then started a two-out rally with a triple into the right field corner in the top of the third. Mountford then got ahead in the count 2-0 and smashed a two-run home run off the top of the scoreboard in right-center to make it 2-1. It was his second-straight game with a home run.
Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) restarted the inning with a single to left and took second on a wild pitch. John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) brought him home with a single through the left side to make it 3-1.
The lead was short-lived as ODU answered with three runs in the bottom of the third. Matt Cogen singled to lead off the inning and Taylor Ostrich followed with a two-run home run over the wall in left center. Eldridge then doubled inside the first base bag and scored on a double from Nick Lustrino.
Bryant tied the game at 4-4 with a single run in the fourth. AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) opened the inning with a triple to left-center and scored the tying run on a sac fly from Zach Wood (Griswold, Conn.). Wood fouled off three-straight 3-2 pitches before lofting a fly to right to score Zarozny.
ODU once again answered, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Zach Rutherford opened the inning with a single and then came around to score on a double from Cogen. Ostrich delivered a sac fly to make it 6-4.
The Black and Gold tied the game again with two runs in the top of the fifth. Fabio doubled to open the inning and scored as Albanese's fly ball to left was dropped. Mullen followed with a single through the right side to bring home Albanese and tie the game at 6-6.
The Monarchs regained a two-run lead with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Ostrich tripled to center with one out and two walks loaded the bases. Freshman Ross Weiner (Woodbridge, Conn.) got a pop out for the second out and had a 1-2 count on Myers but the speedy centerfielder hit a dribbler in front of the mound and beat it out to break the tie. Jason McMurray followed with an infield single of his own to make it 8-6.
Once again, the Bulldogs came right back to tie the game. Mountford walked and Albanese reached on an error to open the inning. Mullen once again singled to right to bring home Mountford and make it a one run game. With runners on second and third, Zarozny delivered a fly ball to right to bring home the tying run.
As they did all game, the Monarchs immediately broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh. Justin Hayes singled to open the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on a fly to right. Ostrich followed with a double to center to score the eventual winning run.
Mullen finished the day with four hits, tying a career high. He also drove in three runs. Fabio (2-4, 2R), Mountford (2-4, 2RBI, 2R) and Zarozny (2-3, RBI, R) all added two hits for the Bulldogs.
Ryan Johnson (East Falmouth, Mass.) made his first collegiate start for the Bulldogs, allowing three runs on five hits over 2.1 innings. Robert Morgenroth (North Caldwell, N.J.) then made his first appearance since March 30, 2013, allowing three runs on five hits over 1.1 innings. Weiner allowed two runs on three hits over two innings, Michael Marshall (Maynard, Mass.) allowed one run on two hits over 1.1 innings and Alex Lagos (Wrentham, Mass.) tossed a scoreless inning.
The Bulldogs continue their spring trip with a Wednesday afternoon game in Durham, N.C., against Duke. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.