Champaign Regional Scores, May 31:
(3) Wright State 8, (4) Ohio 3
(3) Wright State 4, (2) Notre Dame 0
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Wright State stayed alive on Sunday, winning two elimination games to advance to the finals of the Champaign Regional in the NCAA Baseball Championship. Knocking off Ohio and Notre Dame, the Raiders will face the No. 6 national seed, Illinois, on Monday at 2 p.m. ET.
Wright State (43-16) becomes the first Horizon League baseball program to reach the regional final in the tournament's current format. The Raiders will need to win twice against Illinois on Monday to advance to the Super Regional.
Facing Notre Dame for the second time in the regional, Wright State turned to Jack Van Horn on the mound, with the right-hander making his second start of the season. After twirling four innings in the Raiders' Horizon League Championship clincher, Van Horn spun a masterpiece against the Irish, going eight innings, scattering five hits and striking out six.
Van Horn was dialed in from the start, as 72 of his 106 pitches went for strikes. After the Irish scored 13 runs against Wright State on Friday, Van Horn and Andrew Elliott combined to allow just one Notre Dame baserunner to reach third base in the game.
Offensively, Mitch Roman paced the Raiders. The shortstop went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Roman's first run of the night would turn out to be all Van Horn would need. Going the opposite way for a 1-out single to right, Roman moved to third on Matt Morrow's single and crossed home when John Bordner's grounder up the middle went for an infield single.
Roman led off the fourth by doubling to the left field wall. A sacrifice bunt from Ryan Fucci moved him 90 feet to third before Morrow's grounder to first was mishandled, allowing Morrow to reach as Roman slid home safely.
Just an inning later, Roman would factor into the scoring again, as his two-out single brought Sean Murphy and Gabe Snyder home. Murphy had led off the fifth inning with a single to center before Snyder's double put runners at third and second ahead of Roman.
The 4-0 cushion was more than Van Horn needed, as he successfully stranded Notre Dame baserunners in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings before turning the game over to Elliott, the Horizon League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Elliott needed just nine pitches to close the game and send Wright State on its way to the regional final.
Just to earn its shot against Notre Dame, the Raiders had to wait nearly 24 hours to resume its game against Ohio on Sunday afternoon. Delayed by rain on Saturday, the Raiders opened Sunday with a 5-2 lead on the Bobcats.
The Raiders had responded to an early two-run deficit with a five-run second inning, starting the rally on a Snyder walk. Fucci followed by clubbing a two-run home run to straight away center, his 15th of the season, to tie the game.
Wright State then put two runners into scoring position as Morrow reached on error, Brodner was hit by a pitch and Andrew McCafferty moved both runners up with a bunt. It looked like a bad break for the Raiders as a grounder up the middle by Murphy was kick-saved by the pitcher for an out as Morrow scored, but Mark Fowler followed with a two-run homer to left center, his sixth of the year, to make it 5-2 before the teams endured a four-hour delay before play was officially halted until Sunday.
Upon the resumption of the game, WSU added to the lead with a two-out run in the fourth as Murphy walked and scored all the way from first on a hit-and-run double down the left field line by Fowler. The margin grew to 7-2 in the eighth on consecutive singles by Brodner, McCafferty and Murphy and the Raiders added another in the ninth as Michael Timm was hit by a pitch, went to third on a Snyder hit and scored as Fucci dropped a short single into right.
Sunday afternoon's victory was the second for WSU all-time in the NCAA Division I Regionals, with the first being a 14-12 decision over North Carolina State in Knoxville, Tenn., on May 27, 1994.
After giving up two runs in the first, Jesse Scholtens (7-4) took control from there as the junior righthander limited Ohio to no runs and five hits over his final seven innings of work across two days, walking one and striking out three. Logan Bair pitched the ninth for WSU.
Offensively, Fowler had three hits and three RBIs while Fucci collected two hits and three RBIs. McCafferty had two hits and Murphy two RBIs.