BLACKSBURG, Va. — The Wright State baseball program erased an early five-run deficit, but No. 4 Virginia Tech finished on the winning side of a 15-9 contest in the opening round of the NCAA Blacksburg Regional on Friday night at English Field.
The Raiders will take on Gonzaga in the regional elimination game tomorrow at 1 p.m. The postseason matchup will air on ESPN+.
Zane Harris led WSU in the loss, as he batted 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs batted in. Alec Sayre went 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk and two RBI, while Julian Greenwell had a pair of RBI doubles to go along with two runs scored. Jay Luikart tallied two singles and drove in a run. Sammy Sass pushed across two runs on an RBI single and a sacrifice fly.
Wright State finished with 13 hits but stranded 12 runners on base. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech lived up to its hype offensively with 15 runs on 19 hits, including seven for extra bases.
Starting pitcher Jake Shirk allowed five runs on five hits and one walk while striking out two batters in three innings. Tristan Haught (5-2) was dealt with the loss after giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits in 1.1 innings. Aaron Ernst was tagged for three runs in two innings, while Garret Simpson allowed two runs on four hits in the bottom of the eighth.
The Hokies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as VT’s Gavin Cross connected on a two-run homer with no outs.
Wright State threatened with two runners on base in the top of the second inning, but Tech induced a groundout to get out of the frame unscathed. The Hokies pushed across runs on an RBI single and a double steal in the bottom of the second to increase their edge to 4-0.
The momentum continued favoring the regional host as Cade Hunter extended Virginia Tech’s lead to 5-0 with a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning.
The Raiders began their rally in the top of the fourth inning with two runs on five hits, including RBI singles off the bats of Sass and Luikart. In the top of the fifth, Sayre plated Riemer and Greenwell on a two-run double, reducing WSU’s deficit to 5-4. Sayre came around to score later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Sass with the bases loaded, tying the game at 5-all.
However, the Hokies took the lead back in the bottom of the frame with five runs on five hits and an error.
Trailing 10-5, WSU stormed back again with three runs on three hits in the top of the sixth inning. Greenwell started the scoring with an RBI double, and Harris followed with a two-run single. The Raiders had an opportunity to even the score with runners on second and third. However, Virginia Tech’s Christian Worley recorded a strikeout to end the frame without further damage.
The Hokies pulled away with five runs over the next two frames, including a four-run eighth inning. Greenwell notched an RBI double in the top of the ninth, but it was not enough to spark a comeback, as Virginia Tech sealed a 15-9 victory.
Nick Biddison and Gavin Cross both had five-hit performances to pace the Hokies. Worley was the lone VT pitcher to have success against Wright State, as he held the Raiders scoreless on two hits and two walks in 3.1 innings.