By Lee Barker III
After their regular season came to a close with a series sweep by Valparaiso, #4 seed Wright State will look to bounce back as the Raiders play #5 seed Detroit Mercy on Wednesday, May 10 to begin the 2017 Horizon League Softball Tournament at Flames Field in Chicago.
Detroit Mercy (15-32, 12-10 Horizon) may be seeded lower than the Raiders, but defeated WSU twice in their three-game series at the WSU Softball Field back on March 24-25. Like Wright State (20-29, 14-10 Horizon), the Titans dropped their final series of the season with three straight losses at home to #2 seed Youngstown State, who won their final 12 conference games.
In the series back in March, the Raiders won the first game 5-1 and then dropped the next two games 1-0 and 9-7 during a doubleheader. Although Wright State was able to put runs on the board to win the first game of the series, the Raiders collected just four hits in game two.
In the final game of the series, the Raiders jumped ahead scoring six runs in the first inning. The Titans battled back as the teams were tied at seven after seven innings and headed to extras. In the top of the ninth, Detroit scored twice after a lead-off single and walk set up a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over and eventually score.
The double elimination tournament has given the Raiders a second life in previous seasons as Wright State has lost in the first round in three consecutive years before winning their second game each time. If the Raiders beat the Titans, they will play #1 seed and host UIC (35-20, 20-4 Horizon); the loser of the contest will play the losing team of Valparaiso (27-21, 14-10 Horizon) vs Oakland (20-24, 13-11 Horizon).
All Horizon League tournament games will be available to watch on ESPN3. First pitch between Wright State and Detroit Mercy will be at 1 p.m. ET.
Final Horizon League Standings
1. UIC 20-4
2. Youngstown State 17-7
3. Valparaiso 14-10
4. Wright State 14-10
5. Detroit Mercy 12-10
6. Oakland 13-11
7. Northern Kentucky 8-16
8. Cleveland State 4-19
9. Green Bay 3-18