A Garrett Gray sacrifice fly in the eighth proved to be the difference as the Wright State baseball team edged Valparaiso 3-2 in a battle for first place in the Horizon League standings Saturday at Nischwitz Stadium.
The Crusaders tallied an unearned run in the first to take the early lead, only to see WSU answer with a pair in the bottom of the inning. With two out, Tristan Moore drew a full-count walk and Ryan Ashe followed by lining a 2-0 pitch over the fence in right for his first home run of the season and 2-1 Raider lead.
Valparaiso tied it with a run in the fourth on an Elliott Martin groundout and the Crusaders threatened to take the lead as they loaded the bases with no outs. Jordan Marker, however, kept the game tied as he retired Martin on a short fly ball to right and then induced Spencer Mahoney to ground into a double play.
In the bottom of the eighth, Wright State produced the game-winning run. Zach Tanner led off with a hit up the middle, went to second on a Moore bunt and after going to third as Ashe flared a hit into center, scored as Gray lined a sacrifice fly to left.
Valpo had the potential tying run on third in the ninth before Marker closed it out by getting Tanner Vavra on a fly out.
Marker (8-1) pitched the final two innings for the win in relief of Andrew Elliott, who allowed just one earned run in scattering eight hits over seven innings. Offensively, Tanner and Ashe each had two hits.
Wright State (32-15, 17-6 Horizon) and Valparaiso (24-21, 16-7 Horizon) wrap up the three-game series with a single game Sunday at 1:00.