Wright State baseball ousted from NCAA Tournament

Baylor breaks open tie game with seven runs in final two innings


Sometimes, it’s just baseball. The Wright State Raiders fought their way through two tough games at the Stanford Regional of the NCAA baseball tournament. After Friday night’s gut-punch loss in 13 innings to Stanford, Wright State came back on Saturday afternoon to battle Baylor in an elimination game.

For seven innings, the teams fought to a draw. Then came the eighth. The Bears batted around, scoring four runs on seven hits to take an 11-5 win and send the Raiders packing.

»RELATED: Raiders’ upset bid comes up short

»ARCHDEACON: WSU pitcher copes with loss of both parents

It was a tough result considering how Caleb Sampen pitched with his team facing elimination. Sampen allowed four runs (three earned) and six hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked three. He fell behind 4-1 due in part to some defensive breakdowns behind him. But he seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

“I just wanted to keep my team in the game,” Sampen said. “It’s happened to me this entire year that they’ll pick me up eventually.”

However, at 116 pitches, he was done after the seventh and Derek Hendrixson came on for the fateful eighth.

Baylor got seven hits in the inning but three of them were of the infield variety. One of those was especially painful and may have keyed the inning.

Shea Longeliers led off with a double against Hendrixson. Davion Downey then came up and showed bunt.

With shortstop Chase Slone breaking to third and second baseman Matt Morrow breaking for first, Downey pulled the bat back and chopped the ball up the middle. Hendrixson leapt and got his glove on the ball but it went through, bouncing behind the mound. There was nobody home and Hendrixson had to scramble after the ball himself. He retrieved it and tried in vain to get Longeliers going home. He sailed his throw, sending Downey to second.

“We were very fortunate that the pitcher wasn’t a little bit taller,” Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said.

Downey eventually scored but then there was nobody on with two outs. At 6-4, the game was still within reach.

After Levi Gilcrease singled, Nick Loftin hit ground ball to the hole at shortstop for a single. Richard Cunningham then hit a grounder to second. Morrow flipped to Slone trying for the force but was too late. Davis Wendzel followed with a two-run single.

Three more runs (two unearned) in the top of the ninth sealed the Raiders fate.

Raiders coach Jeff Mercer never gave up on his team.

“We thought we would win the game from the first pitch to the very last pitch,” Mercer said.

Gabe Snyder had two doubles, scoring two runs and knocking in another to pace the Wright State offense.

“That’s why he’s very likely the greatest position player to ever play in our program,” Mercer said of how Snyder came back from the miscue. “He’s a prolific player because he’s a prolific person.”

No. 9 hitter Brandon Giltrow went 2 for 3 with a run despite coming into the game hitting .167. J.D. Orr went 2 for 3 with two walks, one run scored and an RBI.

The Raiders (39-17) concluded a great season with two difficult losses. It was the ninth time Wright State made the NCAA tournament since it moved to Division I .

“We had a phenomenal year,” Snyder said. “We started off a little slower than we wanted to but we lived and died together.”

Said Sampen, “We have such a tight-knit group. Every day coming to practice is fun. It makes it easier to play all year long because it’s a long season.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Report: Browns could interview Condoleezza Rice for head coach job
Report: Browns could interview Condoleezza Rice for head coach job

The Cleveland Browns would like to interview former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to fill the team’s head-coaching job, ESPN reported Sunday citing an anonymous source. John Dorsey, the Browns general manager, said last week the team was open to hiring a woman as head coach, ESPN reported. Rice, who grew up in Alabama, is a longtime...
High School Football: State playoffs scoreboard

Region 13 — Girard 43, Hubbard 18 Region 14 — St. Marys Memorial 38, Bellville Clear Fork 7 Region 15 — Newark Licking Valley 30, St. Clairsville 0 Region 16 — Cin. Wyoming 28, London 0 Region 17 — Orrville 43, Akron Manchester 19 Region 18 — Genoa Area vs. Liberty Center Region 19 — Johnstown-Monroe 45, Byesville...
Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch Sunday vs. Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch Sunday vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Cincinnati Bengals are calling Sunday’s game at Baltimore a potential “make or break” situation. Coming off one of their worst losses in franchise history, the Bengals (5-4) are looking to turn things around before they fall out of AFC playoff contention. They currently remain in position to earn the sixth seed, while the Ravens...
Ohio State beats Maryland in OT thriller; showdown with Michigan up next
Ohio State beats Maryland in OT thriller; showdown with Michigan up next

Ohio State kept its Big Ten football championship hopes alive by the slimmest of margins Saturday. The Buckeyes needed overtime to beat Maryland 52-51, setting up a game for the Big Ten East title and a berth in the Big Ten championship game when Michigan visits next Saturday. Coach Urban Meyer’s team has a lot to fix before it will be ready...
Wright State rolls to easy win over North Florida
Wright State rolls to easy win over North Florida

North Florida knew the scouting report said it had to do everything possible to stop Loudon Love, but the Ospreys had no one who could match up with the 6-foot-8, 270-pound center. Their frontcourt players were all 6-8 or shorter and weighed 223 pounds or less, and they were moved around inside like chess pieces. Love scored 13 of his season-high 20...
More Stories