NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)- Do you remember the year 2000? That was the last time Old Dominion University made it into the NCAA Baseball tournament. “We are very proud to carry ODU’s flag and Conference USA’s flag. As a new member to CUSA we are contributing right away,” said ODU head coach Chris Finwood.
Tony Guzzo was the head coach of the 2000 team. This group of Monarchs were just graduating from T-ball in 2000. “This is a dream come true. When you are younger you get to see the best college baseball teams and players in the regional, super regional and the College World Series. Now you get a chance to push forward and be those guys,” said senior first baseman Joe Burney.
The Monarchs battled all season long to a 36-24 record and this past weekends strong showing at the Conference USA Baseball tournament made this moment that much sweeter. “It was getting down there near the end and guys were getting a little nervous. I was getting a little nervous. And when you see your name go up there, its relief, excitement and it was great sharing that moment with my teammates,” said senior pitcher Brad Jerow.
Yesterdays announcement came late in the NCAA tournament announcement show, but whats a few minutes compared to 14 years. “This will be my 10th NCAA regional, this will be their first, so I want to remind myself of that and stay excited because its hard to get here,” said Finwood.
Thanks to a competitive schedule and wins against top teams like The University of Virginia and Rice, the Monarchs played their way into the South Carolina regional. “The guys earned it. We were not one of the last teams to get an at-large berth to the tournament, we were already in,” added Finwood.