‘Just’ getting started: ODU’s Justin Verlander dazzles in Opening Day win

Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Open and shut-down.

Former Old Dominion baseball star Justin Verlander, making his 10th career Opening Day start, dazzled in his season opener Thursday as his Astros defeated the Texas Rangers, 4-1.

For the game, Verlander surrenders just four hits (all singles) and two walks in six shutout innings while striking out six batters. He threw 90 pitches. Verlander has led his team to a victory in each of his last six Opening Day starts (since 2012).

Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

In making his 10th Opening Day start (nine with Detroit, one with Houston), Verlander becomes just the 18th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to make at least 10 starts on Opening Day. Only Felix Hernandez (10) and CC Sebathia (11) have as many/more Opening Day starts than Verlander since 2007.

Verlander, who helped the Astros win the franchise’s first ever World Series last season, was acquired by Houston from Detroit in a deadline deal August 31st. He went 5-and-0 with a 1.06 ERA in the regular season after being traded to the Astros.

At ODU, Verlander pitched in 46 games for the Monarchs from 2002 to 2004, starting all 46. He won 21 career games and is the all-time strikeout king in ODU, the Colonial Athletic Association and the Commonwealth of Virginia history with 427 in only 335.2 innings of work for an average of 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings.