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ODU Baseball drops 15-5 loss to JMU and is eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament

ODU Baseball drops 15-5 loss to JMU and is eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament


MONTGOMERY, Ala. – With the pitching staff worn down after playing three games in three days, the Old Dominion baseball team fell 15-5 to James Madison in an elimination game in the Guardian Credit Union Sun Belt Conference Championship.

ODU opened the tournament Tuesday with a 3-2 win in the play-in game against No. 9 South Alabama to advance to the double-elimination round and then upset top-seeded Louisiana 7-3 on Wednesday.

No. 5 Georgia Southern rallied to defeat ODU 8-6 on Thursday. There simply wasn't enough gas in ODU's pitching tank to beat JMU in the final game of this season of the TowneBank Royal Rivalry.

ODU and JMU split four games this season, with the Monarchs winning two of three during the regular season.

The win boosted JMU's NCAA Tournament hopes at large. JMU's pitching staff was better equipped as the Dukes (34-22) had a bye in the play-in round of

ODU (31-26) finished the season strong, winning 12 of its last 18 games. Maverick Stallings had a good tournament, with six hits and four RBIs in 12 at-bats.

The Monarchs used nine pitchers on Friday night, committed four errors and had five wild pitches. JMU challenged ODU on the bases and succeeded nine stole bases and struck out 19 hits.

Trailing 13-3 in the bottom of the seventh, ODU prevented the game from being shortened by the 10-run rule when Alex Bouche doubled off the wall and drove in Steven Meier and Stallings, who both singled.

However, Mike Mancini drove in Kyle Langley with a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth to make it 14-5. Zack Cannizzaro then singled up the middle to score Fenwick Trimble and make it 15-5.

The Monarchs did not score in the bottom of the eighth, ending the game an inning early.

“JMU played a really good ball game and we were walking on fumes on the mound,” head coach Chris Finwood said.

“We had to throw out some guys who haven't thrown much this season and that's a tough offense to deal with.”

The Monarchs threw their best weapons against Georgia Southern, including Jacob Gomez and Vincent Bashara, who only threw An day of rest. “We really tried to win that game because it would have given us a day off today,” Finwood said. “When we lost, we knew it would be a tough battle today.

“Offensively, we were a little challenged most of the year. But we pitched at a high level. We finish in the top 10 in the country in pitching and that's without a true starter.

“Mike Marron, our pitching coach, has done a fantastic job. What he did with those guys this season was phenomenal.”

Finwood said his team played with a lot of heart and about as hard and as well as it could.

“We had to win our last game of the season to make the tournament and we won 20-6,” he said. “And then we knock out the number 1 of the tournament.

“I am proud of our boys. They played hard and this was a good group. I mean, 17-17 in the league is average for us, but with the core we have back we have something to build on.”

The Monarchs will become road warriors next season when Bud Metheny Ballpark, their 41-year-old home field, undergoes a $20 million renovation. The Monarchs will play 15 Sun Belt games at Norfolk's Harbor Park or Hampton's War Memorial Stadium with all other games played on the road.

The Monarchs will open Bud Metheny Ballpark at the Ellmer Family Baseball Complex in late winter or early spring 2026.

“The new facility is going to mean so much to our program,” Finwood said.

JMU took a 5-1 lead in the first two innings. Ryan Dooley walked and stole second base, then got a single home from catcher Jason Schiavone, who then stole second base. Wyatt Peifer took him home. Coleman Calabrese was hit by a pitch, sending Peifer to second base. He was singled home by Brendan O'Donnell.

ODU got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when Maverick Stallings singled to score Kenny Levari, who singled and reached base.

JMU made it 5-1 in the top of the second inning, thanks in part to three wild pitches. Kellen Davis caused the first two Dukes to ground out and fly out. But then Trimble singled up the middle and moved to second after a wild patch.

Second baseman Mike Mancini singled to left, scoring Trimble. He then stole second base and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. He then scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.

ODU got one run back in the bottom of the second inning when, with two outs, Evan Holman and TJ Aiken both walked. Short stop Kyle Edwards then singled to bring home Holman and cut the lead to 5-2.

Trimble singled in Dooley in the fourth to make it 6-2. JMU then broke the game open in the sixth and seven innings.

In the fifth, Kyle Langley singled through the right side and advanced to second base on a throwing error, scoring O'Donnell. Mason Dunaway also scored on the error to make it 10-2.

Stallings drove in Edwards with a single to right field in the fifth to make it 10-3.

But Trimble singled to right field to score Langley and O'Donnell in the sixth, making it 12-3 in the sixth. O'Donnell hit a triple to right-center seven and drove in Peifer to make it 13-3.

The win was the 500e career win for JMU coach Marlin Ikenberry, who played for Finwood at VMI.

'I would not do that I would be here if Chris Finwood wasn't here,” Ikenberry said. “What he has done for me as a player and coach is the reason I am here.”




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