Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

ODU Baseball 2024 Season Preview

Keith Lucas (Courtesy of ODU Athletics)
The Monarchs Baseball team come together before their matchup against Coastal Carolina.

With the end of the week fast approaching, the Old Dominion University baseball team is eagerly gearing up to begin their 2024 season. After suffering a first-round exit in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at the hands of their in-state rivals, James Madison, the team is focused on erasing the memory of their sluggish ending to the 2023 season and turning over a new leaf in what promises to be a year of potential success. 

Last season, in their first year back in the Sun Belt Conference, the Monarchs finished with an overall record of 32-23 and a conference record of 15-15. The Monarchs got off to a strong start, winning 12 of their first 13 games and finishing non-conference play with a 17-7 record, including series sweeps of Fordham, William & Mary, Saint Joseph’s, and Princeton. The Monarchs swept ULM in conference play and had series wins over Marshall, Georgia Southern, and Arkansas State. 

The Monarchs’ 2024 regular season will consist of 55 games, with 32 of those games taking place at Bud Metheny Ballpark. ODU is poised to go up against six teams that participated in the 2023 NCAA Regionals, including one team that reached the College World Series. Head coach Chris Finwood believes that if his team can win enough games, they can put together a good RPI and gain more recognition from the NCAA. 

Head coach Chris Finwood (Courtesy of ODU Athletics )


Old Dominion has been predicted to finish sixth in the 2024 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll. This poll is voted on by the conference’s 14 head coaches. Coastal Carolina is the preseason favorite to win the league, receiving 12 of the 14 first-place votes and 193 total points. Southern Miss was chosen to finish second with 173 points, and Troy was third with 164 points. Louisiana received the other two first-place votes and came in fourth with 159 points. Texas State landed in fifth with 138 points.

This season, ODU is expected to make significant progress. They finished last season with a .500 overall record in the Sun Belt Conference. However, they have five everyday starters returning, and their pitching staff is deeper and more talented. Where they place in the Sun Belt hierarchy remains to be seen, as there is intense competition at the top of the conference.

The Sun Belt Conference is potentially the fourth or fifth most dominant conference in collegiate baseball. While the SEC, ACC, PAC-12, and BIG-12 conferences have established their dominance over the years, the Sun Belt Conference has demonstrated its capabilities. In 2023, it secured four bids into the NCAA tournament, which is indicative of the league’s potential to emerge as a formidable competitor soon.


Morgan, Holobetz, Moore, Gomez Lead ODU Pitching Rotation 

Blake Morgan in action last season (Courtesy of ODU Athletics)

The team’s offense may be weaker than in previous years, but the starting pitchers for the weekend games look promising. Junior Blake Morgan’s success could be crucial for the Old Dominion pitching staff, as he had a disappointing 2023 season. Morgan had an outstanding freshman year, maintaining a 1.69 ERA over 69.1 innings pitched. Unfortunately, he faced a setback in 2023, when he ended the season early due to a knee injury. This injury might prevent him from pitching for ODU this season.

Junior right-hander John Holobetz has joined the rotation and has been impressing people lately. He did very well in the Cape Cod League, where he threw 6.1 scoreless innings over two appearances, giving up only four hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Last season, he had a 3.37 ERA, 49 strikeouts, 10 walks, and six saves in 42.2 innings while playing for the Monarchs, which adds to his credentials. However, this move leaves a gap in the bullpen, which will be filled by the return of left-handers Ben Moore and Jacob Gomez, who are valuable assets to the team.

Sophomore Ben Moore had a great freshman season with a 1.88 ERA in 28.2 innings across 21 appearances. He did even better in conference play, finishing with a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings. Although he was mostly used in short relief roles last season, his extended outings towards the end of the year gave the ODU coaching staff confidence in his abilities. 

Senior Jacob Gomez has been a crucial member of the bullpen since he arrived on campus. In his career spanning 123.1 innings, he has a 4.95 ERA and 133 strikeouts.


Alex Bouche in action last season (Keith Lucas (Courtesy of ODU Athletics) )


The Monarchs have two exceptional players to watch this season: Kyle Edwards and Alex Bouche. Edwards is a top-notch shortstop who had an impressive performance last season, batting .341 with six home runs and 12 stolen bases. Bouche achieved nine doubles, 11 homers, and 45 RBIs during the same season. Both players played a significant role in the team’s offense, which set the tone for their success.

Edwards is a key player who can significantly impact the ODU lineup. He has immense talent and impeccable defense, but it took him a while to develop his offensive skills. However, his batting average steadily increased from .212, with one home run on April 10, 2023, to a remarkable .341/.379/.659 by the end of the season. In May, he was scorching hot, hitting four of his six home runs, which earned him second place on the team with 12 stolen bases.

Bouche played outside his natural position as a shortstop in 2023 but still offers value to the team with his athleticism and defensive abilities. He had a notable freshman season, with a batting average of .299, an on-base percentage of .420, and a slugging percentage of .527, in addition to hitting 11 home runs. According to Finwood, Bouche is considered one of the team’s most promising professional prospects.



Evan Holman, the catcher for ODU, is a critical player for the team. Although there are some areas for improvement in his batting, Holman has demonstrated exceptional skills during fall workouts, both as a defender and a leader. With some enhancements in his batting, he has the potential to become an elite overall catcher. 

It’s also worth keeping an eye on Nick Sulpizio, a freshman right-handed pitcher, who has emerged as a significant talent on the mound. During fall workouts, Sulpizio’s fastball reached 93-94 mph, and he also displayed a quality slider. While Sulpizio is currently behind more experienced players, he is expected to rise through the ranks this spring.



Kenny Levari in action against James Madison in the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Tournament. (Courtesy of ODU Athletics )

Two players who have primarily played as position players during their tenure at Old Dominion and now have the potential to serve the pitching staff are Lincoln Ransom and Kenny Levari. Although Levari was originally brought in as a two-way player and primarily as a pitcher, he displayed his batting prowess early on in his career, which led him to focus entirely on hitting. However, now that he has physically matured and is prepared to take on the challenges of being a two-way player, the coaching staff decided to put him back in the pitcher’s role during the fall season. 

On the other hand, Ransom was never considered a pitcher in his first three years at ODU. However, given his arm strength and the fact that he never secured a permanent spot on the roster as a position player, the coaching staff wanted to explore his potential as a pitcher. During the fall season, he demonstrated his capabilities on the mound, with a top speed of 96 mph, aided by his sturdy 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame.



The Monarchs will begin their season this weekend with a home series against George Washington. Following this, they will have a series of non-conference games against Rutgers, Charlotte, Northeastern, and two mid-week matches against Princeton University.

ODU will also play home-and-home games against East Carolina, William & Mary, Richmond, and VCU. The Pirates will visit ODU on Feb. 27, and ODU will travel to Greenville, North Carolina on April 10. The Tribe will play on March 5-6, with the venue for each date yet to be determined. The Spiders will play in Norfolk on March 19, and ODU will then play at the University of Richmond on May 14. The Rams will come to The Bud on April 23 and then host the Monarchs on May 7.

ODU will also play the University of Virginia three times. The Cavaliers will host the first two games in Charlottesville on Feb. 20 and April 2. ODU will host Virginia at Harbor Park on April 16 for the Commonwealth Classic.

Sun Belt Conference play starts on the weekend of March 15-17 with a home series against Georgia Southern. Other Sun Belt teams that will travel to Norfolk this spring include South Alabama, James Madison, ULM, and App State.

ODU will play several conference road series, including Louisiana, Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Texas State, and Georgia State. The 2024 Sun Belt Championship will take place from May 21-26 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama.



ODU has the potential to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament by finishing in the top four in the Sun Belt. The team boasts a strong offensive balance, power, and pitching staff to make this feat a reality. With a significant amount of experience returning, ODU has a solid core in the lineup and a track record that suggests an ability to find other impact bats to fill in around the returners. The team’s success in pushing for the postseason will likely depend on the progress of its pitching staff.



The first game of the season against George Washington University is scheduled to commence at 3 p.m. on Friday. The second game in the series will commence at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the final game will feature a first pitch at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All these games will take place at Bud Metheny Ballpark.

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Draper
Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor
Benjamin serves as the Sports Editor for Mace and Crown. He is a junior who majors in Communications, more specifically ‘Media Studies’ along with a minor in Sports Management. He is very excited for the opportunity of leading the sports staff at the Mace & Crown. Since he was 4 years old, Benjamin has wanted to pursue a career in sports media as a Broadcaster/Reporter. On the side, he does broadcasting/production for the ODU Esports program and is Sports Director for WODU Studios. After college, Benjamin hopes to land an opportunity in a sports media role at the professional level whether its a media outlet or sports franchise. You can reach him at

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