The Wright State baseball team rallied from a 5-0 deficit and was just two outs from victory, only to see #20 Ohio State rally with two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 7-6 decision in the opening game of the NCAA Regionals Friday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky.
Both teams had managed just one hit in the early going until OSU started a rally after the first two batters were retired in the bottom of the third. After Nick Sergakis singled up the middle and Craig Nennig reached on a bunt hit, Ronnie Dawson, last week's Big Ten Tournament MVP, doubled down the left field line to make it 2-0.
Following a Troy Kuhn hit by pitch, Troy Montgomery dropped a double along the left field line in between three defenders to knock in two more runs and Jacob Bosiokovic plated the fifth and final run of the inning with a single up the middle.
The Raiders, though, started their comeback with two runs in the fourth. Mitch Roman led off with a hit to right and after Peyton Burdick hit into a force play, Ryan Fucci singled up the middle to put runners on first and second. Sean Murphy reached on an error as Burdick scored the first run and after Gabe Snyder walked to load the bases, another fielder's choice off the bat of Daniel Arthur made it 5-2.
WSU completed the comeback an inning later in scoring four times to take the lead. A John Brodner walk along with hits by Matt Morrow and Roman loaded the bases with no outs and Burdick was hit by a pitch to force in the first run.
Fucci then drove a 1-2 pitch by the third baseman and down the left field line for a three-run double, plating Morrow, Roman and Burdick to give Wright State the 6-5 edge. Fucci later tried to steal home with two outs, but was retired on a close play at the plate.
It stayed 6-5 until the ninth thanks to the pitching of starter Jesse Scholtens, who allowed just one hit over his final three innings of work, and Caleb Sampen, who pitched out of a two runners in scoring position jam in the eighth.
The ninth, however, would go the way of the Buckeyes. After Sergakis walked and was bunted to second, Dawson's single through the right side of the infield drove in Sergakis with the tying run. After a fly out and walks to Montgomery and Bosiokovic, Jalen Washington delivered the game-winner with a fly ball single just out of the reach of Zach Weatherford in deep center.
Fucci and Roman each had two hits for Wright State (44-16), who will face Western Michigan in an elimination game Saturday at noon.
(Release courtesy of Matt Zircher, Wright State Athletics)