Horizon League Baseball Championship
Game 8 – (3) Milwaukee 5, (2) Wright State 4
Game 9 – (2) Wright State 17, (3) Milwaukee 4 – Milwaukee eliminated
WHITING, Ind. -- Bouncing back from a tough loss in the first game of the Horizon League Baseball Championship, Wright State left no doubt in the winner-take-all game, blitzing Milwaukee with a 17-4 victory at Oil City Stadium.
The win sends Wright State (41-15) to its first NCAA Tournament since 2011 and fifth as a member of the Horizon League.
Wright State answered any questions about how they would respond from losing after being seven outs from the Horizon League title in the day’s first game with a resounding six-run inning in the first.
The Raiders sent 11 men to the plate, setting the tone on Mark Fowler’s two-run shot to left that plated the first two runs of the inning. Three straight singles from Michael Timm, Mitch Roman and Matt Morrow loaded the bases, and after a pitching change, Ryan Fucci greeted Brian Keller with a single through the box, driving in Timm and Roman.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Andrew McCafferty went the opposite way, rolling one through the left side to score Morrow. Fucci would come home one batter later on Sean Murphy’s infield single.
As they had all tournament, the Panthers would not go quietly, touching up Jack Van Horn for three runs in the third to slice their deficit in half. Ryan McShane would get the rally started with a leadoff single, scoring when Luke Meeteer one-hopped the center field wall for a double.
Meeteer himself would score two pitches later when Derek Peake’s grounder eluded a diving Gabe Snyder for a double. Two batters later, Peake slid across home on Mitch Ghelfi’s RBI single.
This time, though, Wright State had an answer, getting two in the fifth off of Keller. Timm would single ahead of Roman, who was hit by a pitch to put two on with no out. Morrow, who originally showed bunt, worked the count and fisted a liner to center to send Timm home with WSU’s seventh run. Fucci would follow with a fly to Meeteer in center to allow Roman to sprint home and make it 8-3, Raiders.
An inning later, the Raiders would officially break the game open with another six-run inning.
Loading the bases, Wright State would trot home twice on a hit by pitch and a walk to hit the 10-run mark. Cody Peterson would be summoned from the Milwaukee bullpen to face Horizon League Freshman of the Year Gabe Snyder, and on a 2-1 pitch, Snyder clubbed a ball to right where it landed atop the batting cages behind the fence. The grand slam set off a frenzied celebration in the Wright State dugout as the lead ballooned to 14-3.
Snyder and Josh Brodner would add sacrifice flies in the eighth ahead of a McCafferty single to close the scoring for Wright State. Ryan McShane capped his senior year with a homer to left in Milwaukee’s top half of the ninth.
Making his first start of the year, Van Horn went four innings, allowing three runs. Luke Mamer, who started against Milwaukee on Thursday, came on in relief, twirling five innings and allowing one run in collecting the win.
Fowler, who clubbed two two-run homers on the day, earned Tournament MVP honors.
Milwaukee (39-20) tied the program-record for wins after the victory in the day’s opener.
In the first game, Tell Taylor’s solo home run with two outs in the eighth inning capped Milwaukee’s late comeback and sent the Panthers past a stunned Wright State squad, 5-4, forcing the winner-take-all game.
Milwaukee scored all five of its runs with two outs, including two unearned runs in the seventh to tie the game against Horizon League Reliever of the Year Andrew Elliott. With nobody out, Ryan McShane reached on a fielding error and moved to third after Elliott’s pick off attempt sailed down the right field line.
Back-to-back walks to Luke Meeteer and Derek Peake loaded the bases ahead of Sam Koenig. Koenig, a First Team All-League pick, deposited an outside offering to right, driving in McShane and Meeteer to tie the game.
Taylor’s solo shot in the eighth also came against Elliott, who surrendered three runs across 2.1 innings of work.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s Joe Pavlovich entered in the bottom of the sixth and was nearly flawless two days after starting the Panthers’ tournament opener against Oakland. On a day that effectively served as his bullpen session, Pavlovich shut down the Raiders, striking out four and allowing just two hits in collecting his eighth win of the year.
Wright State built an early 3-0 lead with a lone run in the second ahead of Fowler’s two-run shot in the third.
2015 Baseball All-Tournament Team
P – Dalton Lundeen, Valparaiso
P – E.J. Trapino, Wright State
C – Sean Murphy, Wright Stat
1B – Sam Koenig, Milwaukee
2B – Tell Taylor, Milwaukee
SS – Mitch Roman, Wright State
3B – Nick Unes, Milwaukee
OF – Tyler Detmer, UIC
OF – Luke Meeteer, Milwaukee
OF – Ryan Fucci, Wright State
DH – Mark Fowler, Wright State
MVP – Mark Fowler, Wright State