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

Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch in today’s game at Carolina
Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch in today’s game at Carolina

The Cincinnati Bengals are looking for their first 3-0 start in three years when they face the Carolina Panthers on the road Sunday. The Bengals opened the 2015 season 8-0 and went on to make the playoffs for a fifth straight year but haven’t been back since. This season already feels much different than a year ago when they finished 7-9 for...
Ohio State notes: Haskins continues showcase accuracy
Ohio State notes: Haskins continues showcase accuracy

J.T. Barrett broke almost all the school passing records the last four seasons, not to mention a bunch of Big Ten marks. The way he’s playing in his first season as a starter, Dwayne Haskins won’t stick around the college game long enough to challenge any career marks. Haskins continued to compile stats worthy of the Heisman Trophy in his...
HS Roundup 9/22: Packnett paces Dunbar football in win over Woodward

Greg Packnett passed for 145 yards and three touchdowns in helping spur Dunbar football to a 22-20 win versus Woodward at Welcome Stadium on Saturday night. Packnett connected with James Murray and Bryce Smith on TD passes in the first half and hit Jaquan Lusbourgh with the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter. Aaron Richardson tacked on the...
HS Scores 9/22: Carroll finishes strong in Midwest Catholic race

Football Saturday’s Results Dunbar 22, Woodward 20 Landmark Christian 34, Middletown Christian 13 Friday’s Results Allen East 50, Delphos Jefferson 6 Alter 45, Fenwick 20 Anderson 47, Withrow 12 Badin 42, Roger Bacon 35, OT Bellbrook 21, Franklin 17 Bellefontaine 14, Ben Logan 6 Brookville 42, Carlisle 2 Butler 13, Xenia 7, OT Celina 42...
5 things to know about Ohio State’s blowout of Tulane
5 things to know about Ohio State’s blowout of Tulane

Ohio State rolled Tulane 49-6 on Saturday to end a rocky couple of months for the program.  So maybe it was only natural the state’s official rock song would be what brought Urban Meyer back to normal coaching the fourth-ranked Buckeyes.  “Between the third and fourth quarter, hearing the band play, ‘Hang on Sloopy.&rsquo...
More Stories