On March 3 the Monarchs of Old Dominion University were 2-9-1, since then they have roared back to a 33-22-1 mark and their fifth NCAA appearance since 1990. The Monarchs ended up as co-regular season champions of the Colonial Athletic Association with East Carolina. Both teams were 14-7 in league play, but ODU got the top seed in the tournament after sweeping the Pirates on the road.
Along the way, Old Dominion had four different four game winning streaks and one eight game win streak. In late April, the Monarchs swept three-game road series at East Carolina and Virginia Commonwealth, then took two of three at William and Mary, along with two non conference wins against North Carolina State.
Leading the Monarchs coached by veteran Tony Guzzo are two .400 hitters. All-American shortstop Tim Hummel and sophomore firstbaseman Jared Musolf. Hummel, a junior is the CAA’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He currently ranks third all-time in career doubles with 62 and has struckout only 22 times while walking 53 times. When he scores, the Monarchs are 28-9-1. Last summer, Hummel was selected to the Cape Cod League All-Star squad and BASEBALL TONIGHT’S Peter Gammons mentioned him as a possible first round draft choice.
Jared Musolf, who hits behind Hummel in the lineup ranks second in the CAA in hitting with a .419 average. Musolf has 51 RBI and has scored 58 times. Senior Joe Troilo is the Monarchs top basestealer with 29, while Hummel has 21. Both Hummel and thirdbaseman Jeff Eure have hit eight homers. Senior Jason Greiner leads the team with ten homers and is only two shy of the school career mark of 37 set last year by Tony Gsell. Old Dominion has hit five grand slams this year, two by Tim Hummel against UNC Wilmington and Princeton.
Injuries have hit ODU hard on the mound, losing ace lefthander Brian Ross for almost two months with a broken bone in his pitching arm, but he returned right before the CAA tournament and has seen limited action in relief. Shawn Weaver, another Cape Cod All-Star leads the team with nine wins, and has worked the most innings with 93. Junior J.D. Jackson has the most complete games this season with four, while freshman standout Mike Hoover has a 3.17 earned run average which includes a shutout over CAA Tournament Champion East Carolina.
Head Coach Tony Guzzo picked up his 200th career win at Old Dominion with a 2-1 win over Virginia Commonwealth. Guzzo coached the Rams from 1983 to 1994, winning the 1988 Sun Belt title and the 1992 Metro title. In 1992, his VCU team took Texas to the wire in the NCAA Central Regional finals. He has earned Coach of the Year honors in four different leagues.
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