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Monarchs season comes to abrupt halt losing 2-1 to JMU in SBC Tournament

The loss ended the season for ODU (32-23). The Dukes (31-23) took three of four games against Monarchs this season.
Credit: ODU Athletics

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — As was the case too often this season, Old Dominion's baseball team could not generate enough scoring and saw its season end in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

The Monarchs failed to get a hit after the third inning and fell to James Madison, 2-1, in Riverwalk Stadium Tuesday night.

The loss ended the season for ODU (32-23) while the Dukes will meet Southern Miss Wednesday at 1:30 in the double-elimination portion of the tournament. JMU (31-23) took three of four games against ODU this season.

ODU Head Coach Chris Finwood said the game was a microcosm of the season. ODU rarely won close games, especially in the second half of the season,  when the Monarchs lost 18 of their last 28 games. 

"We did not play well at all in the second half of the season," Finwood said. "A lot of that had to do with injuries. Some of our best hitters weren't in there a lot. Some of our better guys were playing today still banged up.

"That's how it goes. Injuries are a part of the game, but we just got the wrong guys hurt."

Kyle Edwards gave ODU a 1-0 lead in the top of the third with a 374-foot home run to left field. It was ODU's 100th home run and marked the third season in a row the Monarchs have hit 100 homers.

ODU loaded the bases on three walks in the top of the fourth with two outs, bringing Edwards to the plate.

Starter Todd Mozoki had thrown 89 pitches and was visibly tiring. JMU head coach Marlin Ikenberry went to his bullpen and called on righthander Matt Kleinfelter. It proved to be a wise move.

Edwards drilled a sharp line drive but it was right to leftfielder Trevon Dabney, who made the catch. ODU never threatened to score again.

T.R. Williams came in to relieve Kleinfelter in the fifth and held the Monarchs scoreless until the top of the ninth, when with one out, he was pulled in favor of Joe Vogatsky.

Vogatsky got Alex Bouche to strike out swinging and with two outs, walked Chris Dengler. Pinch hitter Logan Duffy then topped a soft grounder to Votagsky, who stumbled on the throw to first but got the ball there just in time to end the game. 

Sam Armstrong (9-4) picked up the loss even though he pitched well. 

He limited JMU to three hits in the first three innings, but the Dukes began to find their range in the fourth. Fenwick Trimble began the inning with a single and then Mike Mancini moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Dabney then followed with a single through the left side, moving Trimble to third.

Kyle Novak then drove a deep fly to right field that scored Trimble and Dabney. Novak went to third on the throw home. Armstrong limited the damage by forcing Jason Schiavone and Ryan Dooley to fly out.

Armstrong was pulled the next inning in favor of reliever John Holobetz, who stranded a JMU runner at second in the fifth and mowed down the Dukes in order in the sixth and seventh and eighth innings.

But the Monarchs went down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and after pinch hitter Camden Grimes walked to begin the eighth, Kenny Levari struck out and Hunter Fitz-Gerald hit into a double play.

It was ODU's first season in the Sun Belt, one of the nation's power baseball leagues, and it came in what was in essence a rebuilding year.

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