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Raiders Baseball Season Ends Short After Blacksburg Regional

Baseball vs. Fort Wayne | Photo by Stephen Hopkins | The Wright State Guardian

After securing their fifth conference title in the last seven years, the Wright State baseball season ends in defeat during the Blacksburg Regional against the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.  

Opening matchup

The Raiders were faced with the No. 4 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies in the opening day of the tournament. WSU squared off against the Hokies earlier this season for the first time in program history, giving them their only non-conference home loss of the season. 

The Hokies started the opening game hot by quickly going up 5-0 through the first three innings. After loading the bases in the fourth inning with nobody out, WSU salvaged two runs and narrowed their deficit. 

In the fifth inning, down two, Horizon League player of the year, Alec Sayre, hit a two-RBI double to tie the game back up, giving the Raiders a big momentum swing. 

Unfortunately in the bottom half of the fifth, the Hokies answered back with five more runs of their own to go back up 10-5. 

The Raiders, showing no signs of going away, retaliated with three runs in the sixth, narrowing the deficit to 10-8. Julian Greenwell notched an RBI double down the right-field line. Horizon League tournament MVP, Zane Harris, continued his hot streak by knocking in two runs on an RBI single. 

The Hokies put the game out of reach in the seventh and eighth innings by scoring five more runs to go up 15-8. WSU would go on to score one more run, falling short in the opening game 15-9. 

The Raiders had a good approach at the plate and did an adequate job at getting players on base and scoring runs. Pitching was the downside for WSU was Jake Shirk and Tristan Haigght, who each gave up five earned runs in a combined four and third innings. 

After losing the opening game to Virginia Tech, WSU would have a quick turnaround the following day by squaring off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a “do or die,” elimination game. 

Go big or go home

WSU squared off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs for the first time in program history Saturday afternoon in a season deciding matchup for both teams. 

Unlike Friday night, WSU jumped ahead first and early, scoring three runs in the opening frame from an RBI-double by Gehrig Anglin and a two-run sacrifice fly by Harris. 

Gonzaga retaliated with four runs in the third inning to go up 4-3 on the Raiders. The bottom half of the frame was explosive for WSU. Harris kept his hot bat alive, crushing a two-run home run. Sammy Sass would score from third on a wild pitch. The Raiders led 6-3 when Andrew Patrick followed up with a three-run bomb to left field. 

The Raiders were in full control, up 9-4 going into the fifth inning when Gonzaga started chipping away at the lead. The Bulldogs gained two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and four in the seventh to regain the lead, 11-9. 

Sadly, the Raiders were unable to climb their way back and fell short in the Regional Round and were sent home. 

Pitching was the Raider’s biggest flaw in the tournament, giving up nine walks in their second match against Gonzaga.

Redshirt senior, Zane Harris continued his hot streak in the tournament, batting .800 with six RBIs in only two games. 

Future seasons

Despite falling short this year in the NCAA tournament, The Raiders proved they have what it takes to make another appearance next season. 

Seven Raiders were named to the Horizon League All-Tournament team, with all seven being eligible to return to the field next spring.