Wright State Baseball Team | Photo by Trent Spruell
Because of their series against Oakland being canceled, Wright State University (WSU) Baseball played a series of hard-fought games against Florida Gulf Coast at a neutral site in Jacksonville, Alabama.
The Eagles currently sit third in the ASUN conference and took a 3-1 series against Kansas, and a 3-0 sweep against the University of South Florida.
Against such tough competition, it seemed like after the first five innings of game one FGCU would run away with all three games, but nine runs in four innings for WSU proved that the Raiders can play hard against the best of other conferences.
While FGCU did take the series 2-1, WSU’s losses were only by a combined three runs, and their win in the second game was by seven runs.
Their play against Vanderbilt and Alabama before the regular season with their recent scores against FGCU set a good trend coming into the back half of Horizon league play.
Pitching up wins
A big factor in the Raiders’ success this year has come from the mound, with Austin Cline and Jake Shrand leading the charge.
Cline is averaging the best ERA in the Horizon League, and the 30 best in the Nation. He has also given up the least runs and the least hits in the league, while only allowing two home runs so far in the season.
Shrand and Bradley Brehmer aren’t far behind, with all three in the top 10 for ERA in the HL, and top five in total strikeouts, each with 55 or more.
“Austin Cline [has been] phenomenal on the mound for us,” Alex Sogard, Baseball Head Coach, said. “Our pitching has really been big for us.”
Coming from the bullpen, WSU’s other pitchers are also great at closing out games, and have proven themselves not only against FGCU but Horizon league teams as well.
Mitch Gremling only allowed one run in the last two innings of WSU’s win over the weekend series.
Hitting hard late
Along with having great closing pitchers, the Raidergang’s batters also have a knack for playing their best baseball in the last few innings.
In game one, the Raiders scored nine in the last four innings to nearly finish a comeback against FGCU, losing by one run 12-13.
In game two, it looked like the teams were in for another down to the wire game, with a 3-4 score coming into the eighth inning. Six runs in a single inning for the Raiders smashed through the game and gave them a 10-3 victory.
With the Raiders still first in the Horizon League after their weekend at NKU, if they can carry their later strength into full games, WSU Baseball could be a force coming into the postseason.