LYNCHBURG, Va. – University of Lynchburg baseball won its opening game of the NCAA tournament Friday with a 7-3 victory over Salve Regina.
Riley O’Donovan hit a three-run home run, Grayson Thurman earned the win in 4 1/3 innings of relief, and the 11th-ranked Hornets tied their program record for wins in a season with 36.
Hosting the tournament at Bank of the James Stadium, the Hornets sent Nick Mattfield to the mound to make the start in Lynchburg’s second-straight NCAA tournament appearance. The 2022 Rookie of the Year allowed two runs in the first on a triple but settled down to retire 11-straight Seahawks.
Lynchburg had a tough assignment on offense as they squared off with Salve Regina’s ace Dominic Perachi. The lefty came into the game with a 0.53 ERA and a 9-0 record. In the third inning, O’Donovan faced Perachi with two outs and the bases loaded. Salve Regina’s pitcher balked home Avery Neaves, then O’Donovan crushed a ball over the left field fence to put the Hornets up 4-2.
Once the Seahawks got within one run after scoring on a groundout in the fifth, associate head coach Travis Beazley went to Grayson Thurman out of the pen. Thurman was not in line to add upon his nation-leading 13 saves. However, he earned the win with 4 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, four strikeouts, and only four hits. Thurman has struck out 101 batters in 2022 and is the program’s single-season strikeout leader.
The Hornets gave Mattfield and Thurman some insurance en route to the victory with three runs in the eighth. Neaves scored his second run of the game on an RBI fielder’s choice from Holden Fiedler, O’Donovan scored on a passed ball, and Gavin Collins scored on a wild pitch.
The Hornets (36-10) take on Birmingham-Southern on Saturday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m. at Bank of the James Stadium. The Hornets look to get revenge after falling to the Panthers in only the third game of the 2022 season.
See the full tournament schedule here.