Maybe Virginia was spent from its big weekend series win over Florida State. Or maybe it was the high winds at Harbor Park.
But the Cavs, Baseball America’s top-ranked team for three weeks running, were no match for Old Dominion on Tuesday as sophomore Connor Myers knocked in three runs and freshman Nick Walker had two RBIs in the Monarchs’ 8-1 win in Norfolk.
“That was just a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking, quite frankly,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor told the Daily Progress. “They beat us in every area of the game. They threw more strikes and attacked hitters better than we did for nine innings. They handled the elements very, very well. And they had a lot more competitive at-bats than we did.”
It was the Monarchs’ first win against a top-ranked team. They beat North Carolina in 2008 when the Tar Heels were No. 2.
Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the second on John La Prise’s single, but the Monarchs scored twice in the third and broke the game open with four in the eighth on the way to victory.
Old Dominion senior righthander Brett Harris got the win (5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K), and the Monarchs got strong relief from Dean Ali, Conner Overton and Brad Gero to finish off the game.
UVa. committed four errors, a season worst, and the defense let it down in the third inning. With two outs, Cavs starter Artie Lewicki got Ben Slaton to hit a slow roller down toward first, but Lewicki mishandled the ball, allowing Slaton to reach. One batter later, P.J. Higgins hit a shallow fly to right, but La Prise, filling in for usual second baseman Branden Cogswell, had the ball bounce off his glove, allowing two runs to score.
“Any time you don’t handle the ball defensively, you’re not going to give yourself the best chance to win,” Lewicki told the Daily Progress, “myself included there with that ball to first base.
“I just think that we’ve been good defensively all year and sometimes, it’s going to happen. It is what it is.”
The win was a big boost for ODU’s at-large hopes. The Monarchs entered the week ranked No. 29 in the Ratings Percentage Index but just 2-6 against the top 50, so they needed quality wins. And no win is bigger than one against Virginia, the top-ranked team in the BA Top 25 as well as the RPI. The Monarchs jumped five spots to No. 24 after the win.
Top 25 Upsets
(4) Cal Poly at Pepperdine: The Waves rapped out 18 hits and scored seven times in the first three innings to batter the Mustangs 11-4. Pepperdine got stellar relief from A.J. Puckett (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K) after a poor start from Aaron Brown for the upset. Pepperdine’s last game had been 10 days earlier against San Francisco.
“We’ve been working really hard leading up to this game, so to get a win after that much time off feels great,” Puckett said. “I just came out and was trying to attack downhill with the fastball, stay ahead of hitters and then when I had them down make sure to finish them off and not waste pitches. I felt good today.”
The Mustangs grabbed the early lead, but the Waves got a two-run double from Brad Anderson in the bottom of the first and had a 7-2 lead by the fourth. Anderson had three hits and catcher Aaron Barnett was 4-for-5.
Mustangs freshman Slater Lee took the loss, allowingfour runs on four hits in just one-plus inning. Cal Poly has lost three straight games after losing just five of its first 41.
Seattle at (7) Washington: For the second time in a week, the Redhawks upset the big boys in town with a five-run fourth to beat the Huskies and Brandon Choate, 6-3.
Cullen Hendrickson provided the big hit, a two-out, bases-loaded triple, and Seattle starter Grant Gunning (7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K) was solid, and Andrew Olson worked two scoreless innings for the save.
“We jumped up early and had a chance to separate with more runs, but their guy pitched his way out of it. They hit back on us, but we felt comfortable that Grant’s control would come around, and it did, as he made some great pitches,” Seattle coach Donny Harrel said. “We put ourselves in a good situation, and Cullen gave us the big hit. Anytime a senior can be on the mound at the end against a good team, it’s a good sign, and Andrew closed it out for us tonight.”
Other Top 25 Results
(3) Louisiana-Lafayette at Southeastern Louisiana: The Ragin’ Cajuns, down to their last strike in an emotional game, were the first team to 40 wins as senior Chase Compton hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth.
“We got pretty emotional about it,” catcher Michael Strentz told The Advertiser, “because the other team was pretty much talking . . . all night and ran their mouth.”
Junior Greg Milhorn got the win in relief, despite allowing three runs in two innings. Ryan Wilson got his fourth save with a scoreless ninth.
“I don’t know how much more I can say about this team and the way they never give up and just keep fighting the entire game,” said associate head coach Anthony Babineaux, filling in for coach Tony Robichaux, who was serving the second game of a four-game suspension for making contact with an umpire. “This team is never out of the game and just keeps finding different ways grinding out wins.”
Alcorn State at (8) Louisiana State: Conner Hale’s three-run homer in the eighth helped the Tigers rally from 5-0 and 6-1 deficits to win 9-7.
Jake Fraley also homered for LSU.
“Let me say first of all that Alcorn State played a tremendous game; we couldn’t get their hitters out and they made some unbelievable defensive plays,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “(Alcorn State) Coach (Barret) Rey and his players deserve a lot of credit because they played their hearts out, and the played extremely well. I’m proud of our guys for fighting back and coming up with several clutch hits.”
Prairie View A&M at (19) Texas: Lukas Schiraldi had a career-best eight strikeouts and C.J. Hinojosa had a two-run double to lead the Longhorns to a 6-3 win. Schiraldi (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 8 K) improved to 5-2.
McNeese State at/vs. (16) Houston: The Cougars got two wins in unconventional style Tuesday, beating McNeese in the completion of Feb. 25’s suspended game and then winning the scheduled game.
The Cougars finished up the Feb. 25 game first with a 5-2 win, then, in his first career start, freshman Andrew Lantrip (5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB 3 K) surpassed his previous long outing of four innings in an 8-2 win. Senior Casey Grayson had three hits and two RBIs and senior Frankie Ratcliff had two hits and two RBIs in the second game.
(17) Texas Christian at Stephen F. Austin State: The Horned Frogs scored five in the first, led by two-run doubles from Jerrick Suiter and Dylan Fitzgerald, and cruised to a 14-4 win. Jordan Kipper (7-2) tossed two scoreless innings for the win.
(21) Texas Tech at Oral Roberts: The Red Raiders scored three times in the 12th inning to spoil a solid outing by Oral Roberts righthander Kurt Giller (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K) in a 4-1 win. Dominic Moreno (2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) got the win in relief.